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December, 24 2016

This year my kids are (nearly) 4 and (nearly) 6. The magic of Christmas is real. As is Santa Claus. Father Christmas. St Nicholas, if you will. He is my kids’ favorite person (their words - ouch!). And while the whole thing is rather adorable; the letters, the mall visits, the baking him cookies, etc, it’s exhausting. It’s one other thing parents have to put on their already-manic holiday to-do list. Except, you can never cross this one off. For reals, parents, continually ensuring that this Santa Claus conspiracy is intact, is a full time job. First of all, you have to keep your story straight. And you have to try and shield them from others’ (friends, movies, and so on) version of that story. I mean, it isn’t as simple as “Santa will come on the night of the 24th if you’re good, yay!”. No, that would be fun. But my kids do not accept this at face value. They have so many questions. So. Many. Questions. Particularly around the “being good” bit (maybe that’s just my kids though…). I think it’s probably because this year, we made the grave error of using Santa as bait for good behavior. Big mistake. Big. Mistake. Now it’s like a challenge; they need to find a loophole. “How does he know I’m being good or bad all the time?” or “If I do something bad, will I lose all of my presents or just one for each bad thing?”. You get the gist. Sometimes they’ll offer up their own theories. Like the fact that one of the reindeers spies on kids all year long with a special device which allows them to hear what’s happening on “Earth”. Ok, let’s go with that. But most of the time, you have to make crap up. And then remember said crap. And the details of it. Like any good liar, it’s all in the details. Deviate from the details and you risk blowing your cover.

And, as anyone with a small human will attest, you can not just say “I don’t know”. Because that will bring on a whole new line of questioning...with a side of insecurity. But I am proud of some of this year’s answers. They’re pretty ingenious, if I do say so myself. We told the kids Mall Santas aren’t real Santas but report to him. This helps explain 1) why there are so many of them and he’s everywhere 2) why Mall Santa doesn’t speak French (my kids’ language of choice). Also, we told them we have his phone number for last minute updates (on gifts or behavior). Honestly, the verdict is still out on whether this one’s made things better or now, but it sounds cool.

So, yes, it’s hard work. But worth it to hear their wonder (blah, blah). Seriously though, it does go so fast. How long do we really have until big brother crushes little brother’s dreams with the truth? Side note, love this, for when this does happen. But for now, we’ll just soak up our little believers and try as best possible not to mess up.

Merry Christmas to all the kids out there (and their lying parents).

Love, Allette Read More
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