A conversation the other night at dinner originated from speculation of what Santa would bring children, coupled with the science of his worldwide delivery of presents. As each of my three went about debating their theoretical hypotheses for gift giving and explaining what could be compared to quantum physics to be in two places at once for driving his sleigh, they each shared if they still believed. Evolving the conversation into belief in the jolly old fellow, I was surprised at who maintained faith. What was more entertaining was The Chad’s reaction to my inquiry. Later I pressed The Chad stating that eventually we should “have the talk,” his response was more of what I could expect from Tyler Durden in Fight club. We don’t talk about Santa…what the hell is this Santa Club? We don’t talk about Santa? Why not?
I suppose the first rule of Santa Club is that we don’t talk about Santa Club. Since the magic still appears to be alive and well in all three of my children, why discuss the details of the elusive fat man in red. Running 12, seven and seven, I am pleasantly surprised my eldest and my two youngest still believe. Part of me thinks the naÃ¯vetÃ© could be damning to my tween whilst the other part of me is elated his youth is untainted and unscathed by the brutal climate that adults can weather on children. By 10 I had already been scarred by the lifting of the veil of Santa magic. My childhood friend and neighbor (ahem, Ryan Chambers) spilled the beans how my parents were wheeling my bike across the street from our other neighbors store room; despite my best efforts in debate to the existence of Santa he employed his older sisters to confirm his knowledge. I was devastated.
Part of me wants to tell the boy of the truth. Stop the lying. Stop the facade. I loathe lying and putting on shows, but I find this is the last bit of supernatural magic in the world left for children. Santa allows them to be grateful for their delivery on Christmas Day. Who could be let down by what Santa brought? He knows exactly what we wanted and he knows exactly what to bring. When we tell our kids Santa is a farce, suddenly they are grieving to know that the loving, jolly, gentle, harmless, obese man will never come again. I wonder sometimes if my children will be disappointed, as I was, to know that Santa was a lie. I wonder when we have our discussion if they will appreciate that I told them or will they be chipped with disappointment that we lied to them for so many years?
If Santa Club is much like Fight Club then we can reasonably deduct that when our kid taps out, calling our bluff, then the magic is over. In no way am I leading my kids to believe that Santa is like God, yet a part of me does have concern that their spiritual growth might be hindered to know someone they believed to be real does not exist. That if they have somehow tied the two together in their critical thinking process that maybe their beliefs will be tainted as opposed to separating the parental mystery from the true supernatural phenomenon of creation, life, the cosmos.
“G” has overshot the precipice of no longer believing and I feel he is floating in the nether of faith in the mystery and knowing the acts of the illusion. Hugging both his father and I after opening his “Santa” gift was a sign he knows of our elaborate plans on some level. The Chad and I believe he plays along for the sake of his younger siblings. Or so this is what I tell myself. Maybe he is keeping up the act thinking that we still believe even though we have slipped in our act of deception. Using the same wrapping paper as other gifts, the kids have received. Sharing stories of what the kids have received from Santa and stating, “we got them XYZ.”
The threesome entertain me on many levels and I am excited to see how our future conversations regarding Santa are initiated. Such a blessing they still have naivety and youth, they are tenderhearted, untainted, true and pure in their being. I am thankful they are unmarked and grateful for their individuality and perspective without tremendous societal influence. Now that we have celebrated Christmas and the magic is waning I’m anxious to have more discussions. Excited to see how their views and opinions have formed, if their hypotheses have changed, if they make the connection, if they still believe. Until then, we leave Santa Club alone, we won’t talk about Santa until the kids are ready to be brought into the circle of Santa Club.