Friends & Family

The Santa Secret

I was in the second grade when I unmasked Santa. I’d had my suspicions for a while: the handwriting on the gift tags, the fact that Santa used the same wrapping paper as my parents did, and I’m sure I’d heard rumblings around the playground or maybe from my older brother. But whatever evidence I brought before them, my parents stood by Santa. Coincidence, they said. Santa’s helpers, they said. Go to bed, they said.

I spent that Christmas season snooping. I finally found my proof on Christmas day, not long after I received a beautiful Barbie dream house, pre-assembled under the tree. I was probably helping clean up wrapping paper, or perhaps making a last-ditch effort to make my point, but I found the box for the Barbie dream house in the garage, and my parents could pretend no longer.

I was not angry. I did not feel betrayed; I felt proud. Proud of myself for figuring it out. And I was grateful for my Barbie dream house, whoever gave it to me.

As I prepared to have my own children, I wondered whether I’d uphold the Santa myth. I didn’t want to lie to my children. Then again, I didn’t want to burden them with knowledge they couldn’t share with their classmates. I heard a lot of young parents considering the same conundrum. When they were babies, though, it was all academic.

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Friends & Family

It’s Been a Festive Week.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy kids are early to bed, early to rise, so we hadn’t gone out looking at Christmas lights until Monday morning, on our way to the grocery store. It was still dark and I noticed that many of the houses in our neighborhood had their lights on. It wasn’t exactly Candy Cane Lane, but I put on some Christmas music and we had some impromptu holiday fun!

I attempted to make red and green bagels. I made vegan, gluten-free chocolate clusters. I made peanut brittle, fudge, white chocolate truffles, and made several attempts at updating a family classic that no one really liked: divinity.

The boy watched and read How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1,742 times, and once he realized that I know most of the words by heart, started demanding that I narrate along with the cartoon. (Because I memorize books pretty easily, especially the dactyllic rhythms of Dr. Seuss, I think Sam now thinks I have all his books catalogued in my head.)

I tried to get Sam to dictate a letter to Santa, and I wrote a lame little list of my own.

We did some Christmas sticker crafts (and by “we” I mean “me”).

We braved the mall and took a tag off a sharing tree, then had a tantrum in the Lego store where I bought the cutest dragon-themed kit for the girl we’d selected–and no, the tantrum was not because the boy wanted the toy for himself or wanted a toy at all. You see, normally, when we go to the Lego store, we walk in a circle around the room, admiring all the little displays, and then we play with the tub of bricks they have out to amuse the children. But to accommodate for the crowd, they’d cleared out the play area, so our routine was broken. Then I broke it further by selecting a toy (which we’ve never actually done there) and standing in line to buy it. I’d unintentionally created a ritual around the Lego Store and then I broke it, thus upsetting my son and his rigid thinking. But we pressed on, as you have to, and got to the register (many thanks to the lady in front of us who tried very sweetly to talk to him and then let us skip ahead of her) and got out, with Mommy explaining what we were doing each step of the way and why. When we finally got back to the sharing tree to drop off our donation, the boy was palpably relieved. That yellow bag in my hand was like a pebble in his shoe, even as we browsed the Build-a-Bear store and looked at various mannequins (he says all mannequins look like Daddy–even the ones at the maternity store). Once it was safely in the bin, he perked up. Strange little sprite, my son, but how I love him.

We went to WildLights and took part in an indoor snowball fight.

The next day, it really snowed!

I reread A Christmas Carol.

We watched ALL the Christmas movies.

Then we thought of our loved ones, and how much we miss them, and how we hope they have a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and a happy New Year.