Planning Christmas for the little ones means you’ll need to do a fair bit of sneaking about and telling little white lies.
“I have some shopping to do, see you later!”
“What are you shopping for, Mum?”
“Oh nothing, just boring stuff. You know, kitchen towels and soap and such. You have fun now!”
Later, to Hubby: “Psst! Remember to not let the boys see our basement unit right now, it’s full of presents.”
And: “Mum, did you remember to send the letters to Santa?”
“Yes, dear, of course I did!” I say while slyly checking they are still safely tucked away for future nostalgia.
On Christmas Eve: “Hey look, the cookies and milk we left for Santa and his reindeer are gone! They must’ve arrived!”
It isn’t over when Christmas has passed, either.
Six months later: “Boys, do you remember that book I got you for Christmas? Err, I mean, the book Santa got you for Christmas?”
The lies snowball into more and more lies, spreading throughout the year. Even three years later, you’ll still need to be alert in casual conversation and remember that this shirt came from Santa and not grandma, and it becomes a mind game, and endless puzzle for the baffled parent.
And then there’s Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, offering even more chances to surprise your offspring with happy lies. Why do we do this?
I don’t have the answer. Would it be so terrible if the presents simply came from the kids’ loving family, instead of a strange old man who is spying on them to judge their behaviour? Santa is like God for kids: clearly dividing the good from the bad, and everpresent with his watchful eye and white beard.
Though it must take quite a parent to actually go through with it and not give any gifts to a child who has been acting up!
And what about those kids whose family can’t afford any gifts and who then must feel they haven’t deserved them? They must think Santa doesn’t like them!
I love Christmas, but what good are the white lies – isn’t it possible to create magic otherwise? How many of you remember the let-down feeling of discovering Santa isn’t real? You wouldn’t lie to your friends or colleagues, so why lie to your kids who trust you to tell them about the world?
For some reason, Santa is a socially acceptable, innocent fib.
Imagine if we lied about other things, like:
“Oh yes, sweetie! Dinosaurs really exist and they live in the jungle!”
“No dear, of course the lion isn’t eating that cute zebra. They’re just playing.”
“Oh, that man sleeping on the street? He’s just tired, he’ll go home soon. Don’t worry, he’s fine. He has a nice home and kids your age waiting for him.”
Childrens’ heads would be spinning by the time they started school. Just like mine is.
I slipped up last weekend and mentioned that Santa is a fairy tale character. My kid promptly corrected me, “No, he’s not! He’s real.” Dear sweetheart.