08 December 2011

The Santa Question

A couple of years ago, we got the girl a dollhouse for Christmas. She hardly ever plays with it, because it's too big for the Calico Critters and too small for the Barbies - creative make-believe be damned. Yet, when I asked her if we should get rid of it - it does take up a lot of space in her small bedroom - she told me that she didn't want to because she didn't want to hurt Santa's feelings.

I filed that away.

She's been writing letters to Santa Claus since September, one all Calico Critters and accoutrements, the next a list of American Girl Dolls and accessories. The current envelope addressed to Santa includes a lot of slips of paper cut from the myriad advertising supplements that arrived with the Sunday paper.

But I've been waiting.

The other day, she asked me, carefully, nonchalantly, do you think Santa is real?

I parried with a what do you think?

I asked her to reflect on what happens at the end of The Polar Express (which we'd read the night before).

At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as if does for all who truly believe.

I reminded her about the court scene in Miracle on 34th Street:

Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Governent, recognizes this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.

Today, she still believes in Santa Claus.

But I know that there's doubt in her young heart, and that rather makes me sad.


Liz Miller said...

Muffin Man found out three years ago, because a girl in his class told him. I'll never forgive her.

Nadine said...

We have a serious doubter here in this house. He just isn't sure what to believe. He swears up and down that "you just buy the presents and hide them in the attic" but on the other hand he wants to sit on Santa's lap. Funny, in a way, because the attic is not where we hide them!

It is sad....

Oonie said...

We get an extra year or two because in our town, Santa actually shows up at your house live and in person and it is hard to doubt when the guy in the suit is IN YOUR ROOM jingling those bells and bringing the elf on the shelf to say goodbye.
But if you haven't read this, please do:

Gina said...

Oh yeah - I know it's coming, too and it breaks my heart. My son believed much longer - he would occasionally ask me and I would go with your answer of "what do you think?" And he always said he thought Santa was real.

And then one year, he asked, I answered in my normal fashion and then he said, "No, Mom - I need for you to tell me the truth." So clearly he knew but was hoping. I told him & he cried, then I cried. In fact, I cry just thinking about it.

Needless to say, when my baby stops believing, it will be a sad, sad day.

MARY G said...

My girls found out or were told about Santa really being Mom and Dad, but for years they did not mention this to us, for fear, they said, that if we knew they knew they would stop getting Santa presents.
So, we still (and the daughters are now in their forties) label the odd gift 'From Santa'.
It's been a marvellous joke for years.

The Library Lady said...

SC was a believer until 5th grade or so, no matter what people said. And JR has finally gotten over my telling her--she wished that I hadn't, but I was afraid SC would blow the show.

Santa gave them (and still gives them) stocking gifts and one present each--which is usually something they really, really wanted most. The rest of the gifts are from us. My parents did that too--and we still find it funny to occasionally mark a gift for them as being from Santa!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The one and only altercation I ever got into at school was over Santa. I was in fifth grade and somebody told me he wasn't real while we were in the cafeteria. The principal had to break it to me that I was actually the one that was wrong.

Antropologa said...

Well, sure, but figuring it out is a step in maturing and being one's own person, too. (I put it together when the metronome I got had a "Made in Taiwan" sticker).

leanne said...

I love that you answered her question by asking her what she thinks. I do the same.

My 7 year old son still believes (even though last year he told me about a classmate telling him that Santa wasn't real -- my son then told me that he disagreed with the classmate). I keep wondering how long it will last. I see hints of questioning here and there.

Also, a thanks to MemeGRL for the link about no longer believing in Santa -- beautiful response.

AnnetteK said...

Josh decided he didn't believe a couple of years ago, but all of a sudden this year he seems to want to believe again. I admit I love it.

Rima said...

Oh, I know what you mean. And I think you gave her a good "answer." I remember asking my mom when I was about five and she responded with "Well, what do you think?" as well. Unfortunately, that kind of sealed the deal for me. I wish I had believed longer!

Janet said...

You might like to make her one of these videos with Santa :-) I did one for Dave's grandson and he loved it.


shrink on the couch said...

To the question "what do you think?" my kids answered, "well, all the kids on the bus think he's fake."


InTheFastLane said...

I think the end of the magic is always a little sad. I knew that my (now 12yo) figured it out a few years ago, but he would never actually come out and say so. I think he figured that if he did, he might not get any presents any more.

mayberry said...

I'm sure my 9-year-old knows, but she won't ask, because then she'd REALLY know.

Murr Brewster said...

I honestly don't know how much I ever believed. I've tried to remember, and all I know is there was no one shocking realization. But bless that girl for not wanting to hurt Santa's feelings. She may up with a dang houseful of kitties some day, but I still like her instincts.

Kyla said...

Sigh. Watching them grow up is hard! I fear this is the last year of this sort of magic we have with BubTar. I can't remember when I really figured it out with certainty, maybe 4th or 5th grade? I kept playing along anyway. :)