I’ve come to accept that a good portion of my life is spent in make-believe. As a writer and artist making things up is a job, not just a pastime. If you know my husband (You probably do. Sigh, doesn’t everyone?) you know he spends half his day teaching children and the other half inside some comic book or cartoon somewhere.
Obviously, there was little hope for our children. This fall, we've made it through Dragon*Con and Halloween, one upsetting reality moment about the tooth fairy for our oldest child and finally Christmas has arrived. Our children are not just believers in Santa they are BELIEVERS IN SANTA.
Not to mention Twinkle Toes the Elf, but that’s another story.
Our children do not believe in the mall Santa’s or the ones they see on TV. They know those aren’t the real Santa Claus. We have our own Santa and he is the very best Santa ever.
When my children were small they went to the Oak Grove Young Children’s School (where I also worked). Santa comes every year to take photos with the kids. He’s super awesome and so friendly. Later, we moved and I switched my younger daughter to a different pre-school, PATH. Santa came to this school also, which was great, because we were able to keep our tradition of visiting Santa and getting photos taken, even after our girls left pre-school and moved onto elementary school. At this point we have over 10 photos of our kids with our very own Santa.
But it gets better.
Last year we found out Santa was going to be at the Oak Grove Market, which of course meant I had a panic attack because EVERYONE I KNOW would be there and send me into an introvert melt-down. I sucked it up though, because, duh—Santa. Both my girls were a little nervous last year. Their friends were saying things about Santa not being real and how he was fake and your parents were really the ones doing it all. Skepticism all around. Even though they we’re having doubts about Santa they fully bought into Twinkle Toes the Elf. I guess word about that hadn’t filtered across the playground yet.
Even though we weren't so sure about everything, we got in our nicest clothes and hit the Market to see Santa and take a picture. You can bring your own camera or you can just sit on Santa’s lap and talk about the weather, reindeer or what presents you’d like. He came, of course, looking just like he’s supposed to (our Santa has a certain look, you know) and both girls got ready to meet the man.
I was waiting back a little, as I was not really invited to listen to their discussion, and I couldn’t really tell what was going on. Everyone seemed good. No yanking of the beard and screaming out, “Fraud!”
When they were finished I thought this may be our last year to pull this off, especially with the older child and I waited to see the reaction. Did she still believe?
Ramona left Santa and came over with a silly grin on her face. Her eyes were huge and she said, “Santa knew our names.”
I said, “What, he knew your name?”
“Yes! And Santa knows our elf! He had a message from Twinkle Toes!”
Coco followed up with only a semi-snarl on her face (it’s usually there) and said the same thing, that Santa knew her name too and even mentioned Twinkle Toes’ girlfriend, Barbie.
What happened next is pretty awesome. It didn’t matter what happened in the future or who told them Santa was fake. Who cares if someone says it’s your parents that leave the gifts? Or that elves aren’t real or that reindeer can’t fly. In that moment, in my dreaded social nightmare of the Oak Grove Market, both of my children believed 100%. Santa knew them. HE REALLY KNEW THEM!
The basic rule in our house is if you believe in Santa then he’ll keep coming. If you don’t then he stops. A year has passed and we’ve all grown up a little but I think everyone still thinks Santa will be coming this year. After that meeting with Santa last year, I'm not sure if they'll ever not believe.
Good news! Santa will be coming to the Oak Grove Market this Saturday, December 15th if you want to bring your children. He’ll be there at 11:30 AM. Bring your camera and your list.