By Diane Stamm
The Wauneta Breeze
Several days a week I help out at a preschool in Imperial.
Two weeks ago, as we prepared the kids for their Christmas program, one four-year old dropped a bomb. “Santa isn’t real!” What’s next? The Easter bunny, the Tooth Fairy? Scandalous.
Luckily, I still live with believers. It has helped that Santa has visited our house while the kids were still awake, but there are still the occasional questions.
Whenever my kids ask if Santa is real, my first response is “Do you think Dad or I am going to get up in the middle of the night to put out your gifts?”
Their eyes get big and faces solemn. Through experience they know Mom doesn’t function well in the middle of the night.
Another standby at our house is “If I was going to lie to you, I’d pick something much more important.” I keep a white lie involving the two-year old mystery of a disappearing cat in my pocket just in case
He’s been gone long enough that there isn’t much shock factor involved and very little drama.
Over the years they’ve also come to understand that toys can cost a lot of money. We’ve had talks about how hard Dad works to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. They have some understanding that toys are wants not needs. Would we go spending a bunch of extra money on things that Santa brings for free? Heck, no!
To go with that, Santa’s brought them some pretty cool stuff over the years. I want to make my kids happy. Why would I let Santa take credit for the cool stuff they’ve received?
Yes, there are gaping holes in my defense, such as what happens during the two hours between when they go to bed and when I do. I’m also a little worried about what will happen when the time comes that they realized that if I lied about a cat, what other lies are out there.
But at six and nine-years old I know the days of my kids believing in Santa are limited at our house. It makes me sad to think about them not believing anymore. The end of Santa marks the end of innocence for children. When that cynical day comes the world is suddenly a much less magical and imaginative place.
So I rejoice for every Christmas when the kids leap from bed on Dec. 25 and rush to the tree to see what new treasures they have received. Today (Thursday) couldn’t get here soon enough.