Corey and I were settling down with the girls tonight before their respective bedtimes. Every night, the four of us meet up in our bedroom to cuddle, read books, sing songs or just catch up on the day. Tonight, Corey decided to quiz Ella on Santa.
"Hey Ella, what does Santa do?"
"Um, he eats all of our cookies."
"Oh. Does he do anything else?"
"Welllllll, he REALLY likes faniches (sandwiches)."
"I see. When is he coming?"
"Really? Why is he coming?"
"He's coming on Friday to visit."
"But you just said he was coming on Tuesday."
"He is--AND he is coming on Friday. But sometimes he comes on Wednesdays."
On and on it went. In true Ella form, it turned out to be a very amusing conversation. After we tucked her in, I thought about the fact that we probably should tell her the truth about Santa. The thing is, I really don't want to.
Last year, I had Ella put a plate of cookies out for Santa, but I neglected to tell her the real reason for the action. At the time, I told her that Santa was coming to visit in the middle of the night because it was Baby Jesus' birthday. I didn't tell her about the sleigh, the reindeer, the elves or the presents. Ella didn't question anything because she hadn't had any real exposure to Santa. She wasn't in daycare last year, so she wasn't around other, more worldy kids. She had never had the pleasure of waiting two hours in line with 30 other miserable and screaming children to sit on the lap of a gamey and only possibly sober Santa Clause for a momentous photo opportunity. We had a wonderful Christmas.
A big part of me doesn't want to change this arrangement. I don't want my girls to be materialistic and spoiled. I am not particularly religious, but I also don't want my girls to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. Maybe I am being way too uptight about a jolly man with a white beard and a red snow suit. Maybe I'm being lazy. After all, acknowledging Santa means work for me to keep his story alive.
Maybe I don't want Ella to be disappointed when she finds out the truth. I found out that there was no Santa when I was 7. Jody Heiden, one of the older kids on the bus, told me the truth. As a matter of fact, I could write a book about what I learned on the bus, but I digress. At any rate, whenI found out that Santa was bogus, I was in shock. I was also pissed because my mother had just made me rewrite my letter to Santa because, according to her, he had poor vision and probably wouldn't be able to read what I had written. So I did what any self-respecting 7 year old would do. I told my 9 year old sister who was still a believer. I felt tremendous satisfaction from being able to tell my know-it-all sister something that she didn't know. Unfortunately, my mother was so pissed that I told my sister, that I got no gifts from Santa, and my sister still got hers. At the time I was truly devastated because I had been secretly holding out hope that Jody was wrong and that Santa was real. When I didn't get any presents from him, I really thought he was punishing me for not believing.
At this point, I know we have to tell Ella about Santa. She is probably the only kid in her class in school who doesn't know what Santa is all about. And while I am sure there is absolutely no harm in telling her about him, a part of me feels a little sad.
God, it's not even Halloween yet.