Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Santa Claus: to Believe or Not?
When I was little, I think I believed in Santa Claus. I'm not really sure. I think I kind of knew all along that Santa Claus was really just my parents. They never said anything, but from the time I could read (age 4), I could recognize my mom's handwriting and realized that the tags on the Christmas gifts that were all from Santa Claus were written by her hand. I remember that as being my first clue. But I also remember overhearing conversations about Christmas that included things like what they should do for the stockings (aren't stockings also Santa's territory?) and just the commercials for Christmas on TV. Why would all that stuff need to be advertised if you just ask Santa for what you want? So I'm pretty sure that I had it all figured out at a pretty young age as I don't actually remember believing in him completely or what it felt like when I "found out" that he wasn't real.
My oldest child is seven. He is actually a very bright and imaginative seven-year-old, and I suspect that somewhere in there, he knows Santa is not real. It just doesn't logically make sense--going around the whole world in one night delivering gifts to millions of children, etc. But he is also still such an innocent boy. He still likes playing with toys that younger kids like playing with (he is very into Buzz Lightyear and we had a hard time finding a big enough Buzz Lightyear costume for him for Halloween--he was the only Buzz Lightyear at his whole school, as witnessed in the Halloween parade), and he likes to watch preschool shows on TV (think Nick, Jr. shows like Ni Hao Kai Lan). Yesterday we went to see Santa at the city's event, and he was very nervous and shy about sitting on Santa's lap. And let me tell you, that Santa did a fantastic job of making it seem real--he listened carefully when I called my children by name, commented to them how much they'd grown in the last year, asked how they liked their gifts from last year, etc. He really played it up.
Well, my seven-year-old really wants a Phineas and Ferb Lego set for Christmas. I have researched this--no such thing exists. I did find some instructional sites online on how to create the character from that show out of ordinary Legos, but there is not one such set in existence. My son is adamant that he will be getting this set for Christmas since he wrote it in a letter to Santa and asked Santa himself for it. I've told him that there is no such set and it will be impossible to get, but he is convinced that Santa can do anything and that Phineas and Ferb Lego set will be there under the tree Christmas morning.
So how far do you let the Santa fantasy go? Is it time to break the news to him, should I just let him be big time disappointed on Christmas morning and that will break it to him that there is no such thing as Santa Claus? I am torn between what to do about this. I keep trying to convince him to ask for something else, but he will not budge.
What would you do? What do you do with regard to Santa in your family?