Ruining Christmas for my Children
Posted on December 8, 2010
As of the last month or so Karina and I have been having some conversations about initiating a rite of passage for our kiddos. And I am not talking about the rite involving body hair springing up in new places or even the rite of having the kids move on from being the correct age to enjoy restaurant kids meals to having them just pretend to be the right age (for the record, I do not partake in the latter ritual). I am talking about passing along some knowledge regarding Santa Claus. SPOILER ALERT: For those of you who wish to leave your childhood innocence intact, read no further.
In the event any youngen’s not privy to certain facts regarding St. Nick are still reading, I will continue this story in code. I will disguise the name of the mythical character. We’ll call him Sandy Claws.
Back when Ashton was too young to comprehend our conversations, Karina and I discussed whether we’d have our kids believe in Sandy Claws or not. (CRISIS NARROWLY AVERTED!! Ashton, who is supposed to be sleeping, just walked into the den where I am typing this! I threw myself at the computer as inconspicuously as possible. He is probably wondering if dad hugs the monitor every night after he goes to bed). I grew up in a, for lack of a better term, conservative household. We never believed in Santa, or even had a Christmas tree for that matter. My opinion on the whole situation was that it would be better to not have our kids believe in Sandy Claws. My fear is, upon learning the truth, they’d question everything I have taught them as true (the theory of gravity, Jesus, the superiority of the University of Arizona over Arizona State). Karina on the other hand grew up believing in Sandy Claws. In her view, this gave her many cherished memories I missed out on (leaving cookies out for Sandy, the thought of a large man entering my home as I slept, having my world crushed as I learned the truth about Sandy). In the true spirit of compromise, we taught our kids to believe in Sandy Claws.
Well, now are kids are to the age where they will soon learn the truth from their class chums. Actually, Ashton will probably learn on Google and then blab the truth to Lynsey. Karina and I would prefer to tell the kids the truth ourselves rather than having them find out we’ve been building a fabric of lies from their friends (or internet search engines). Ashton’s reaction will probably be something like: “ok, whatever”. We are a little more worried about Lynsey. I anticipate her reaction to involve three weeks of crying and a self-imposed hunger strike. As such, we are trying to approach the situation with tact.
We thought about telling the kids this season as all of the Christmas spirit is in full swing. But, the longer we wait, the poorer the timing and the greater chance of ruining their Christmas (“Hey kids, since it’s Christmas Eve and all, I wanted to share with you a little story. Once upon a time our society made up a character named Sandy Claws who actually doesn’t exist. That’s right, all these years your presents have come from your mom and I. You’re welcome. Good night.”).
So Karina and I figured we’d break the news sometime during the summer. That way they have several months to get over their grief. Additionally, their immediate reaction won’t be to blab to their friends the next day. But how to tell them? My idea is to gradually drop hints to the kids so they figure it out themselves. That way the giant hole in their heart from learning the truth is filled in partially by a sense of accomplishment. Some of my ideas are as follows:
“Say kids, have you ever thought about how Sandy Claws gets in our house? After all, we don’t have a chimney. Well, see you later!”
“Have you ever thought about why, with billions of kids around the world, Sandy Claws chooses to spend every December by the food court in the Tucson Mall? The Panda Express is good, but not that good. I’m just saying…”
At least we have several months to develop a plan regarding this. And, while all of you parents out there may be terribly upset at me for the thought of spoiling the big secret, I’m going to save a ton of money by throwing the Tooth Fairy into the conversation!