11/30/06

This Santa Claus Thing

While driving the other day, I listened as the girls discussed the logistics of Christmas lore. Ilsa decided that every house sporting lights and decorations had to be Father Christmas's house. Automatically, I replied that, no, Father Christmas lives at the North Pole, in the Arctic.

Juliette: with polar bears?
Me: Yes.
Juliette: how does he get us presents?
Me: He delivers them on Christmas Eve by flying around on his sleigh.
Ilsa: pulled by reindeer?
Me: Yes.
Juliette: how?
Me: Magic.
Ilsa: To England?
Me: Yes, even to England (which is where we'll be for the holidays).

Eventually, this third degree began to bother me. Consistently feeding them these Santa Claus fairy tales feels deliberately bizarre.

Juliette is under the impression, a la a scene in Madagascar, that giraffes carry other animals on their heads. I stepped in to correct her, saying that giraffes' necks would break if they carried heavy things on their heads. When, a la Roo in Winnie the Pooh, she talked about kangaroos jumping through the forest, I told her that kangaroos live on the grasslands where they can see longer distances and avoid jumping into trees.

See? Responsible mommy. Diligently correcting misinformation borne of popular culture.

So why should Christmas be any different? I'm not going to burst their bubble--do not fear ye of the happy Christmas childhood memories--but I find it bothersome.

6 comments:

Jessica said...

Heck, I'd just tell them the truth! Juliette will find out by the time she's five from a schoolmate with an older sibling anyway and she'll tell Ilsa.

Mircalla said...

Matbe Father Xmas really exists... Until he exists in our and their imagination, does it really matter who pays for the presents?

If a child sees the sky red or green, I see this as the expression of their infinite immagination... and it's fascinating...

Keven said...

The sky is grey. black at night.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that Lily still believes in Santa (we're gonna go see him at the mall this weekend, btw). OH, and he DOES exist... I heard him on the roof of our house... I was 7 at the time, but still...

Mircalla said...

You made me remember, Jess, all my friend's intriguing mystery stories about their (or their cousins'/uncles'/friends' etc.) encounters with Father Xmas. Even though there was always a mean older brother/sister ready to spoil the fun, there was always a counter-theory going on amongst us to save our magical world. Even when I eventually worked it out (by myself), I kept pretending to believe in him... Nowadays, I just esteem him for all his hard work. ; P

Tess said...

I guess I have problems with belief for the sake of belief.... As you point out, we try to tell them the truth about everything else, so why not this? If they know Santa is just a story, does that make him any less powerful?

I hedged my bets and told my 2-year-old that "some people think Santa brings presents and fills stockings," and there would be "someone dressed like Santa" at the mall. His response? "Santa's going to be at the mall!" Right now he's so literal that of COURSE Santa exists, just like Elmo exists--he's on TV and there are pictures of him everywhere! I think my plan is to stick with "some people believe" for as long as possible, and when he's able to ask tougher questions, go with "What do you think?" If it were up to my husband, we'd just tell the complete truth from the beginning.