Our oldest girl asked recently if the Santa with whom she took her picture last Christmas was the real Santa. After a brief glance toward the hubs and a pause that lasted perhaps two seconds too long, I replied unsteadily, “I’m not sure. It’s hard to say if that was the real Santa, or one of Santa’s helpers.”
“Huh?” she asked, rightfully confused.
“Well,” I stammered, “Santa has helper elves that look just like him. So, sometimes we see the real Santa, and sometimes it’s just one of his elves. We can never tell.”
“Oh,” she said, digesting the information. And then she walked away, as if it were just all too much to consider.
The hubs and I exchanged another glance and then agreed we felt quite ridiculous lying to our daughter about the bearded man in a red suit with flying reindeer. I mean, the whole Santa thing is absurd, really. But we also agreed we didn’t want to rob her of the magic and mystery of Christmas that we both experienced as young children.
I’m just dreading the day that she comes home from school—like I did some time in the early elementary years—and tells us how someone in her class told her that Santa is make-believe, and instead of taking him at his word, confronts us with the issue and explains how she didn’t believe the kid because her mommy and daddy would never lie to her.
Well, until then, we will just keep participating in the ludicrous lie that is Santa Claus.
Moving on. Elf on the Shelf. I never intended to have one because I fancy myself unconventional. And also, I felt a little uncertain about threatening my pretty well-behaved kid with a tale about an ever-watching twelve-inched stuffed sprite who reports back to Santa.
However, last year, an Elf was gifted to us by a family member. So, I opened the box in secret, read through the book, and took one evening, right before bed, to introduce the Elf and the whole far-fetched concept to Nora.
Needless to say, she was terrified. Most kids may accept at face value the idea that Santa would send a household elf to watch over a family and tattle back if necessary; not this kid. Watching her face process the silly—and admittedly frightening—scheme was priceless. After two nights and mornings of talking about the Elf and witnessing his flights of fancy, she bravely asked if we could mail the Elf back to Santa. Like, immediately.
And so we did. More lies.
The Elf went back into the box and she and I later talked about how he might return when she was a year older. Better able to handle the thought that some weird creature was flying about her house by night and watching her every move by day. Because that’s not creepy at all for a kid.
At this point, I haven’t yet decided if the Elf will join our family again this year or not. But, I will admit to having changed my mind about using a sprite to threaten my kids into behaving properly. These days, I need all the help I can get.
Every year I DREAD having to put up the Christmas tree. Dread. This probably stems from the trauma of childhood Christmases and watching my dad under the tree, year after year with the tree stand, tightening and loosening this screw and that, rotating and twirling trunks left and right. All while my mom insisted over and over again that the damn thing still wasn’t straight. Wasn’t showing its best side. We children held our collective breaths and winced while our dad stomped off and stormed around a bit until he had calmed down enough to try again. We silently urged our mom to just say good enough is good enough. But it had to all be perfect.
Now that I’m one-half of the tree-putting-up committee at my own house, I’ve learned to expect less than perfection for sanity’s sake. Still, adjusting those stubborn screws and getting that damn conifer to stand straight is a HUGE pain in the arse.
On top of all of this stress, I fear we have lost the tree stand in the recent move. Which means we may need to purchase a new one. I was browsing today on Amazon and discovered a few brands that people claim will save marriages and should be invested in no matter the high cost of $100.
One hundred dollars for a tree stand?! You’ve got to be effing kidding me! For one hundred dollars, included in that deal better freaking be Bing Crosby himself come back from the dead to hold the trunk merrily, all while singing “White Christmas” round the clock for our family and holiday guests. Sheesh.
On second thought. I guess it does beat the cost of having to pay for counseling and/or a divorce lawyer. I think I’ll have to sleep on it.