On Being Santa…

I wrote something this week for Killing the Buddha, my favorite website in the universe. About Santa…

“Mommy?” Mose says, “I think I want Santa to bring me a Transformer instead of Playmobil.” He tells me this soberly. He ponders the gravity of his decision and nods, “Yes, I do. I want a Bumblebee Transformer.”

Hmm. Okay.

How do I explain that he’ll be sorely disappointed if he gets his hopes up? Is this the moment I explain that we don’t believe in Santa, that Santa is something other (nicer) parents do for their kids? Or do I let him be angry at Santa on December 25th, instead of pissed at me?

One Response to “On Being Santa…”

  1. david e Says:

    growing up a number of families on my street were japanese. they had trees and traded presents but they didn’t call it christmas. they didn’t call it anything. they were buddhists and for them the tree and decoration and gift giving was a part of fabric of the year, like halloween and valentine’s day. so growing up the idea of santa was sort of like the tooth fairy.

    a number of years back, to minimize the consumerist aspects of the holiday (and frankly because we were poor) we introduced the idea of solstice to our girls, with a special dinner and homemade gifts. we had a tree still, and we did stockings on christmas morning (some traditions and expectations die hard), but by de-emphasizing the 25th and getting our holiday out of the way early the girls came to not see it as a time to ask for things and to celebrate family.

    yeah. that worked for about five years, and somewhere in there the girls sort of figured out santa on their own. we had confusion around visiting their grandparents on christmas day (very conservative “the reason for the season” christians) and gifts from other family members with kids who asked about “what santa brought,” and keeping solstice became harder to maintain while the rest of the world was pushing st. nick. we still celebrate solstice as a family night, and for christmas we still try to make gifts when time and ideas permit.

    reading your post over at ktb i would agree to hold off, but i would do it longer — like summer vacation. kids memories aren’t short, and coming back to school in january to kids saying “santa got me…” is going to trigger the new intel. better to play it safe until forth of july when you can spring the truth at the same time you debunk the washington-chopped-down-a-cherry-tree myth.

    and if i don’t get a chance between now and then, happy new year

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