NOW: I love Christmas. There, I said it.
Prior to Thanksgiving I was pretending to be one of those people that dislikes the Christmas decorations being up in the stores already.
So, when Thanksgiving was over, I could finally give in to my true nature. Phew, what a relief.
Then, I started reading/hearing all kinds of people complaining about Christmas in general…..especially in regards to Santa Claus. So, I’ve been debating about this post for a while, but I suppose it’s my right to give the other side of the debate. I don’t think anyone is “wrong” in their beliefs, just like to give my opinion too!
I love Santa. I believe in Santa. I truly do, at 30 years old. Does Santa magically drop presents down the chimney for Tim and I? No, not technically. But I believe in him as the spirit of Christmas. The idea that my twins will wake up on Sunday morning and be in awe of the fact that not only are there presents under the tree……but the milk, cookies, and carrots are mysteriously gone.
I know it’s a lie. But I suppose I lie to my kids all the time. Not big lies. But……when there’s blackberries going bad in the fridge and there’s new bananas on the counter and they ask for bananas and I tell them they’re not ready to eat yet so they’ll just have to make do with blackberries. Could they eat the bananas, yes. But I want them to eat the blackberries first. But they won’t go along with that line of thinking. So, I tell them the bananas aren’t ready yet and they suddenly become perfectly happy with blackberries. Just an example. But I digress.
I try to explain as much to my kids as possible. Even if anyone else would think they’re too young to understand. And I tell the truth; I don’t blow them off with a simple answer. It gives me credibility for when I do stretch the truth. Plus, I’m a firm believer in asking questions in order to learn. Even when I have a group of 22 children in front of me all day….each with their own set of questions. That’s my job; to answer them.
Back to Santa. Early in November, Will and Ariel saw a commercial featuring the man in the red suit and inquired about it. I, being the over-explainer, immediately went into a detailed description of Santa, with his sleigh, reindeer, and sack of toys coming down chimneys on Christmas Eve. I was excited. Even back in November. As a result,
we they have been talking about Santa for almost two months now. Not incessently. But occasionally. And more so now that the big night is almost here.
<It’s hard to put joy into words. I think it’s much easier to express negative emotions, so this post might get rambly. I apologize in advance.>
Santa is magic. End of story. Obviously I’m excited because this is the first year where the twins really get what’s going on for Christmas. If nothing else, they know what presents are for and they are looking forward to recieving some, I’m sure. But they are also excited about the tree, the ornaments, the decorating, the driving around looking at Christmas lights, the snow (what snow?), the shopping (yay, my kids like to shop!) the making cookies, the holiday movies. I could go on and on.
They are just full to the brim of excitement and positive emotion. Same way my 2nd graders at school feel. And I like to think that it’s coming partially from me. They are excited because I am excited. And I allow myself and them to give in to the excitement. I don’t pretend Christmas isn’t coming, I embrace it. And every year I get the same question from my 7-year-olds at school…..is there a Santa Claus? They are at the brink of not believing. Others have told them it isn’t true. But they trust their teacher. Maybe more than they trust their parents. Because their parents might tell them the truth if they ask. Plus, when they’re being egged on by 20 other kids, this seems like the perfect time to inquire. School is for learning, right?
And I don’t lie. I tell them yes. There is a Santa and I believe in him. Let me make this clear; I am not lying. And that’s part of the magic. They know I’m not lying. And so do my twins.
When I was little Santa filled my living room with presents. And my sister and I always made sure to say “Thank you Santa, wherever you are!” while we looked up at the ceiling (because North is up), after we were done opening our gifts. We were grateful. Were we grateful to the wrong person? Maybe. Maybe not. Because even though it was technically my parents’ money, and technically my parents (mom) who went out and did the shopping, and technically my parents (mom) who stayed up late into the night wrapping……it was Santa who brought those gifts. And my parents heard the thank you and took it as their own.
I don’t even remember finding out that mom and dad were buying the gifts all along. I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal. I vaguely remember mom telling me not to tell Melissa, 5 years younger than me, and still going strong in her Santa-belief. I think I kind of felt like I was just in on a secret, not a lie. How fun it was to keep this secret going year after year…..until eventually most of the presents were just labeled “from mom and dad”. But never all. There were always a couple from Santa. Even though we “didn’t believe” anymore. And the pile? Didn’t get any smaller. Don’t get me wrong. My parents were not rich. My dad worked two jobs so that my mom could stay home with us, and then later when my mom developed back problems and “couldn’t” work (that’s another post for another day). They were probably living paycheck to paycheck. But I never would have known it come Christmas morning. Was I spoiled, yes. But was I taught how to be rich in Christmas Spirit and thankfulness, yes.
I guess I’m lucky too because there are a lot of factors that don’t make me see “playing Santa” as a chore. I love shopping, and shopping for the perfect gifts that I know will make my kids’ eyes light up is so rewarding. It’s not work. And I loved wrapping this year. I picked out two different sets of paper and made sure Will and Ariel each had the same amount and wrapped and wrapped. And the “leftover” gifts that didn’t have a “match”? They are from mommy and daddy. And in a third type of wrapping paper. It was like a puzzle! Making sure that they each had the same amount of gifts wrapped up. (That reminds me, I have to figure out somethings to unwrap and rewrap so they each have a gift for each other).
I guess it just boils down to this; I have fond memories of Christmas and of Santa. I want my children to have fond memories of Christmas and Santa. I want them to share in the Christmas Spirit and be merry and cheerful. Everything Tim and I do with them is an experience that will shape their whole world as they grow up and I guess I just want them to have this wonderful, joyful Christmas/Santa experience. Even if it is a lot of work. And technically a lie.
I’m lucky too, in that I have the means to be able to do all of this work to build up the lie. It’s worth it to me. Because I love Christmas. And because I believe in Santa Claus.
Happy Holidays Everyone! Enjoy your time with yourself, your friends, your family, your joy.
And your presents…..I know I’m looking forward to opening up my one-piece footie Cookie Monster pajamas from Tim! (They just better be waiting under the tree and not being saved for my upcoming Birthday!) This is now.
THEN: (A short one): The twins were born on a Sunday. I was allowed to stay at the hospital until Thursday morning. You might think that’s strange….whoever wants to stay in the hospital, right? But I was glad because that was where my babies were.
On Wednesday night, before Tim left to go home, I was sobbing. I thought my heart would break. He even climbed into the tiny hospital bed and held me. I had been holding in all of my negative emotions for almost a week….even before they were born. But now, on the eve of my homecoming, I broke down.
I didn’t want to go home the next morning. I couldn’t leave them. It was “bad enough” that they were being taken care of by “other people” but now I got to go home and they didn’t. It wasn’t fair. All of my other fears came out….basically…..what if they never came home? I cried and cried and cried. And he held me. And he cried a little too.
A nurse came in. I stopped right away. I couldn’t be weak in front of her, she’d think something was wrong. I told her I was just afraid to leave the twins. But, she was trained to deal with crying, new moms. She was afraid it was something worse; I could see it in her eyes. She left and I knew that she would be sending people to check on me up until I left the next morning. And maybe even watch me when I came back to visit the twins. It might be post-partum depression.
I got angry. Did I not have the right to get a little sad? After all we had been through? I was keeping it together and upbeat for a long time! Didn’t I have the right to cry a little when I didn’t know what I was facing and how long I would have to face it and didn’t know what was going to become of my babies, but just knowing I wasn’t able to be in the same building with them 24/7 anymore? I just wanted to cry a little. I just wanted to be held by my husband who was the only one who even came close to understanding. Was that so wrong? That was then.