Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | December 13, 2014

Is Santa real?

As parents, there are certain questions from our children that we outright dread – alcohol, drugs, sex, and yes, Santa.  The raw emotions “Santa” brings to any child’s life is just magical.  I could just sit by and watch it for years.  There was one Christmas that was extra special.  My wife and I purchased this Santa kit that came with fake snow and a foot print stencil.  The idea was you could make Santa foot prints that started from the door (since there is really no need for a chimney in Hawai‘i) and ended at the Christmas tree.

That particular Christmas night started with the kids writing a message with chalk on the garage floor welcoming Santa…..and letting him know where to park.  It was the kids’ idea 100%.  We also made reindeer food and scattered it all over the garage floor.  Needless to say the kids were excited.  Once they fell asleep, I brought out the Santa kit and got to work.  I also went outside and swept away the reindeer food, and wrote a little note from Santa on the garage floor.  We had so much fun doing this.

The next day was priceless.  But just for a moment, think back to your childhood and what was the first thing you did on Christmas morning?  Check if Santa arrived, right?  As predicted, the kids woke up and check for Santa’s arrival.  They were beside themselves when they saw the prints.  They even went outside to check on the reindeer food.  They loved Santa’s note as well.  It was awesome.

When my wife and I reflect on this, and every Christmas with the kids actually, we try out best to savor these moments because we know at some point it’ll change.

But we were not ready for this day to come so soon.

About a month ago, my oldest son (9 years old) asked the dreaded question, “Is Santa real?”  Followed by, “do you and mom buy the presents and say it’s from Santa?”  Talked about mixed emotions.  I was hit with sadness, anxiousness, worried all at once but I had to remain positive.  I had to think fast.  First, I did the typical, “what do you mean?”  But then his follow up question attacked my consciousness.  “Dad, tell me the truth…”.  ARGH!  He continued to say that his friends don’t believe in it.  I suppose outnumbered by his friends, he had to seek the “truth.”  My mind was spinning.  I must admit, I did say some white lies and dodge it for a few minutes.  “Um…yes, we do buy you presents.”  But my son kept pushing.  “No, the presents from Santa.  Do you and mom buy presents, place it under the tree, and says its from Santa?”  DAMMIT!  At this point my mind was in overdrive.  Then it hit me.

But first, I did want any adult would do if they didn’t know the answer or wanted to avoid it all together, throw the question back at them.  I asked my son, “What does Santa mean to you?”  I proceeded to lead the discussion buy connecting emotions and traits that come with Santa.  “Does Santa make people happy?  Does he promote giving?  Does he foster love?”  As I was asking these questions to my son, I started to internalize it to which the conversation turned.  I continued to share that to this day I believe in Santa.  I told him Santa is a concept that is larger than a person in that “Santa” promotes positivity and selflessness.  It was getting deep.  So my son asked, “so…Santa is like God?”  My response was, “well, no” but I think he was getting the idea.  It was a surprisingly productive conversation because I didn’t have to lie and he understood what I was saying.  I think he, at age 9, still wants Christmas to be magical and we feel the same.  But I hope this conversation removes the material and commercialism that comes with Christmas and turns it back to more of a feeling, which is a present that keeps on giving regardless of age.

So is Santa real?  Yes, it is.

Happy Holidays everyone.

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