There we were laying on her bed, her tears were flowing down her face as mine sat pooled in my eyes just one blink away from spilling over and she asks “why, why do you parents lie” and I calm my voice to give lame excuses as to why we parents lie and I hate it. I have always hated the lies we tell our kids in an effort to keep the “magic of Christmas alive”. I never liked the whole Santa getting our due credit, but since it was in the parenting handbook we received at the hospital, page 1456 “How to keep the magic of Christmas alive for your Child”, we followed the rules and lied to our kids. Then we upped the ante and got Alex the Elf back in 2008. And that was cute, until Pintrest came and ruined that. Oh he can’t just go shelf to shelf he has to do pranks and be naughty and has to top himself every night when I have no creativity and all I want to do is go to sleep and not have to wait for them to be asleep to Google the best place to hide him and maybe sometimes it would be nice to fall asleep early and not have a panic attack at 3 AM remembering I forgot to move stupid Alex the elf that has a burnt head (I’d rather not talk about it) and maybe a little bit of a burnt back and how the kids can honestly believe this doll that is sold in every store we visit is real and yet have no issue throwing away a childhood doll right in the dumpster is way beyond me. But we do it. We lie, we fib, we wake up at 3 AM and move the burnt elf and make them do silly stuff and we grumble and post blogs, share blogs, post on our facebook about it and YET when the kids find out because you suck at lying and totally forgot that you did not make that build a bear, actually Santa did oops and you realize your 9 year old is just way too smart, she was the one who at 3 who pointed out at what a coincidence it is that Santa has the same wrapping paper as us (oops again) it’s time to give it up, answer her honestly, step up to the plate, lay on the bed with her crying, apologizing and promising her that she is in a better club, a club of big kids who help keep the “magic alive” for their siblings and when of course letting her know that when she is a mom she will understand. And I cry because I was caught in a lie and it feels gross. I cry because as annoying as the elf had become, I was grieving more over her realizing he wasn't real more than Santa because I knew how much she loved Alex. I cry because I realize all the effort we put up to lie to our kids and I cry because all I want from Christmas is to be a time of sweaters, boots, Christmas music, lights and Jesus. I want us to go out of way to tell the truth about Jesus and stop lying so much about Santa. I want the gifts we give to be a reminder of what we are celebrating and a reminder of the goodness of this holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Christmas, I always have but the “magic” of it shouldn't be spoiled by lying to our kids.
So she found out the truth and promises to keep it a secret for all her friends and her little brother who still believes. She is the one who hides Alex now for me and it has been fun having her as my side kick. We are even getting creative again with hiding him … all just to be lying on the bed with Oliver in a few years crying after I ruin it for him too somehow. But we will continue to do it for him, but I am not gonna lie, I will be glad when the Santa days are behind us. I will miss them being little, but I sure won’t miss the lies.
Jesus is the reason for the season. Oh the cliche, the bumper sticker, but it is true. So this year I am making a better effort to read from our Advent book nightly. OK we skip some nights, but we read, we discuss stories, we pray for others. We find ourselves cuddled on the couch with no TV on, talking. And that is the truth about Christmas I want to keep going. It is a tradition I want our family to continue and remember and sure I want us all to look back and laugh about burnt headed Alex, but most importantly I want the kids to want to have those evenings with their own kids.
We may not have it all done right, but compared to years before where Christmas is over and I am left with whiplash feeling regretful and wishing to do better the next year… at least this year I am not wishing. We are doing.
Merry Christmas from our family of 1/5 believers in Santa and 5/5 believers in the true reason for this Season! I realize 5/5 is 1 whole (Andi is in 4th grade, believe me I know all about fractions) but 5/5 made more sense then had I said 1 whole believers in the true reason for the season.