December 06, 2006

St. Nicholas Day

2006-12-06: "Today is St. Nicholas' Day: Did you believe in Santa Claus/Father Christmas? How did you find out the truth? Would you tell your kids about Santa?" by Anonymous.

I was a huge believer in Santa Claus. With four kids in the family, and an older sibling, you know that it didn't last all that long...but it was fun while it lasted.

I can remember spending Christmas Eve at Grandma's house and seeing relatives that you only see at the holidays. I would always ask one of my great uncles for a purple pony. All the grandkids would be running all over the place, hyper from all the cookies and fudge. My grandma made the best peanut butter fudge in the world. I can still remember the sweet taste just by closing my eyes and thinking about it. All evening you'd be getting your cheeks pinched and kissed by great-aunts wearing red lipstick and funny hats. When you got a little older you could sneak outside with your aunt and have a quick cig, because nobody would notice if you weren't there.

Anyway, when we were young, after an evening at Grandma's house, we would come home and beg to open the wrapped presents under the tree. We never got to as a child, but we never stopped asking. We would get sent to bed after putting on our Christmas pajamas. I can remember laying in the bed with my sisters, trying to stay awake and listen for Santa Claus. I think we were convinced that we could even tell what he was going to be leaving us if we could just stay awake and listen. Like we'd hear him reading off a list or something? I don't know!

I don't recall any specific time when I realized that there really wasn't a Santa. If I had to guess, I would imagine that my older sister said something to make me realize that there was no Santa...or we found our presents. To this day I have no idea how my mother hid presents for four kids. Our big stash always came from Santa, with the required socks and underwear and other clothes coming from Mom and Dad. That is quite a bit with four kids. I never remember feeling shorted at Christmas, and I'm so impressed with my parents being able to pull that off. There are years now with just one kid that I'm feeling like I'm either completely over-doing everything or not doing enough. Ahh, parental guilt....always fun for the holidays!

We did tell Crash about Santa. We have the required pictures of her as a child, crying on Santa's lap. Each year she looks less and less aprehensive. She always believed in Santa until she was probably 10 or 11ish? The year that she was really beginning to doubt Santa, we pulled off the "surprise puppy for Christmas" and renewed her belief for a little longer. I was always surprised at the number of children who seemed so cynical about Christmas and knew there was no Santa and just thought of it as a day to get as many presents as possible. I'm sure the words "Well, I'm sure Santa stops at their house and leaves a few extra things that the parents don't buy" came out of my mouth while trying to convince her that Santa was real. I think there is a wonderful innocence about having that belief. That if you are a good little girl or boy, Santa will bring you presents while you are asleep. Wasn't that a rule as well? We were always told that Santa couldn't come while we were awake.

Crash was about 12 when she had the "I don't believe in Santa and here is why" discussion with John. Seems that she'd been playing hide and seek in the apartment with her friends and decided to hide in the closet. Oh, can't hide there...all the presents are in there! She'd found her Santa stash but didn't say anything for a few years out of fear that if she admitted that she didn't believe, she wouldn't get any presents from Santa any longer. I do remember feeling a little sad knowing that she really didn't believe any longer. We still lay out presents "from" Santa for her, probably more out of my sense of tradition than anything else. There should always be a few surprises on Christmas morning and the little inkling of magic.

Posted by rowEn at 07:51 AM