I can’t believe I am already reading books to my children about Santa, drumming up excitement about his arrival, and best of all, will be playing Santa early on Christmas morning. What is happening? How am I getting this old so quickly? Wasn’t it not that long ago that I, myself, believed in Santa, and my parents went out of their way to climb a two-story house and jingle sleigh bells outside my window (which I never did hear, much to my father’s dismay)?
We’re spending Christmas in Bangkok this year and as I write this on December 17, we have already visited with four Santas. That’s right, four Santas. Four Santas who did not all look alike (to be fair, the first and fourth Santa were the same guy, but still . . . ). We are, after all, part of an American community living in Asia, so I guess Santa diversity should be expected. However, after telling my 3-year old that we were going to see Santa for the third time this year, he asked me a very pointed question – “Is it the real one this time, mommy?” You can imagine my surprise as I fumbled to find an answer. “Well, sweetheart, none of these Santas are the “real” Santas. They are all Santa’s helpers. The “real” Santa comes on Christmas.” I didn’t take me long to calculate in my head just what was going on in my three year-old’s mind: why are we seeing so many Santas, and if there is one “real” Santa, why do all of these Santas look so different from one another?”
It is amazing how clever our little ones are. Why should I for a minute think that my smart three-year old would think that all of the Santas we’ve visited with are the same person — and moreover, that all are the “real” Santa? And if his questions continue to be so intuitive, how will my husband and I ever keep up? Not just with mythical traditions like Santa Claus, but with all kinds of things in life that they are still too young to know about and understand the real reason for?
Parenting. It is certainly not for the faint of heart, nor the creatively slow.
And by the way, I can still remember clearly when someone divulged the Santa-isn’t-real secret to me. It was during a ride home from first grade in the back of one of those 1980’s station-wagons with a neighborhood friend named Carrie. Carrie Wood, to be exact. My mom was so mad at Carrie she wanted to punch her in the face.
So good luck with those holiday traditions out there and don’t forget just how quickly the wheels in our toddlers’ heads are turning.
Here is our 2013 in Santas so far: