Over the years we have had some explaining to do in regards to why Santa only brings three gifts to each child in our home on Christmas morning while some friends, classmates and neighbors get more than three. We've indicated that there is a partnership between Santa & parents, explaining parents play an important role in Santa's choices--price range, number, whether or not a gift is appropriate/allowed, etc.
Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing and our involvement with a local children's home also required us to address the economics of funding Santa Claus' gift giving. ("Why are WE getting this? Why don't they just ask Santa Claus?") We've explained that some parents are unable to pay for gifts which allows the rest of the community the opportunity to rally around and 'elf,' helping make Christmas happen.
I have realized how much this summarizes the most beautiful message of Santa Claus: Giving without concern for getting credit. It is the most precious part of the secular Christmas season.
Being my children's trustworthy source of information as they figure out this world is a priority to me. I have sought to honestly answer the questions we are asked while still preserving the mystery and fun of the observance. The wonder of childhood is a gift.
This year, to borrow a term from Polar Express, the sound of the bells has started to fade...but not for my entire trio. While one is all in, one seems quietly suspicious and the third is in full investigative mode. With precocious 10 and a half year olds, the questions have grown more mature, probing and specific.
Last week my P and I were alone in the car when he started grilling me. He saw some inconsistencies in various explanations and asked me to explain the inner workings of the parent/Santa connection. "I mean, do you Skype with him or text or what?!?"
Ever thoughtful and circumspect, he exhaled a sigh of an old soul and said, "Mom, based on how you are answering these questions, I think I see where this is headed. But just in case, can I wait two more years and ask you to explain everything when I am twelve?"
I grinned wide and agreed to his request and he hasn't mentioned it since.