Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in the amount of lies and half-truths I have created in order for my children to believe - to believe in magical elves, flying reindeer and a jolly old man who knows if they have done their homework or cleaned their room.
To make things worse, I am not a very good liar. It’s actually a family joke. I can’t keep a secret. I have a compulsion to “share.” So, sometimes I wonder how I have made it this long.
My first-born is 13-years-old and he was such an easy child. He never questioned much. He just accepted what I told him as true. He loved the holidays and was happy to wake up on Christmas morning and get a few gifts. He lit up when we showed him the radar on Christmas Eve of Santa traveling across the globe. He sat on Santa’s lap at the mall without a tear. He was a believer and I felt like a good mother.
Then I had my second son, who is nearly seven, and my daughter, who is five. The baby is only 19-months-old, so I’ll leave her out of it for now (although I’m pretty sure she is going to put me through the ringer too). I was so excited that I had more children to share in the magic of Christmas – my favorite holiday. Only, these kids are not like their older brother. They like to question everything. “But, why?” rings through my head at all hours of the day and night.
I think a curious mind is a wonderful thing, except of course if you are trying to create some magical traditions contingent upon complacent believers.
Sometimes, I feel like they are trying to poke holes in my story like professional interrogators. Here are some examples:
My son: "So, what you are telling me is that Santa was a real person, but he was so good that Jesus gave him Christmas magic?"
Me: “Um, sort of… it’s hard to explain.” (Can you tell I’m good on my feet?)
My daughter: "So, if the Santa at the mall is not the real Santa and is just his helper, why do I have to sit on his lap? He’s a stranger Mommy."
Me: "Um… it’s hard to explain." (I seriously need to practice my talking points.)
The stories I tell my kids seem to grow as they get smarter and quicker to see the inconsistencies. The thing is I don’t feel guilty about the lying. What I feel is annoyed.
Don’t they understand I am lying for their own good? Don’t they know that one day they will do the same thing in order to preserve the magic for their children? Don’t they realize that they will look back on these days and wish to believe that the North Pole carries the power to bring joy to countless children? Or that once a year, one person has the power to make your wishes come true?
I understand the reason some parents choose not to start the lying. It is surely simpler. Can Christmas still be fun without the tall tales? Of course it can. Is the true meaning of Christmas easier to teach without the elves and reindeer? I can see the argument to this effect.
But, can it still be magical? I’m not quite convinced. And to me, part of the wonder of childhood is the ability to believe in magic. To use your imagination to create fantasies. To dream big and cling to the idea that life is more than black and white - that there are hints of color, especially the red and green of Christmas.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.