Thursday, December 13, 2007


Well. It is about time that I said something controversial to get you people fired up and commenting! Considering that I can't go 5 minutes in real conversation without saying something stupid, offending someone, or pissing someone off, I find it nearly miraculous that this blog has gone on (and on and on - did I tell you that printing it in an 8 x 10 book format would be over 300 pages? Yeah, so much for archiving ye ol' blog. I'll just rely on Google to continue to exist) for almost 8 months without any major controversy. I know it's a record for me. I'm sure it's also a record for blogs, in general.

This is really a non-issue this year. Like I said, MG is terrified of Santa. It's really going to be an issue next year, when she's old enough to understand and (maybe) not be terrified.

You've given me a lot to think about. Do young kids believe in Mickey Mouse in the same way that we want them to believe in Santa? Would telling them the truth - that he's a fictional character - mean that they'd enjoy Disneyworld any less? This is a serious question - I honestly don't know the answer. For all that MG is extremely verbal, she hasn't demonstrated any awareness, yet, of the difference between real and make-believe. I've seen her try to hand toys to Charlie and Lola on the TV. It probably doesn't help that our TV is huge, so C & L appear life sized (BJ has rigged up a projector, so it's a 109" diagonal).

How do you reconcile that with, say, scary things that they see in movies or on TV? If they accidentally come in during The Exorcist or something, and you say, "Oh, honey, it's not real..." do they then have some kind of existential crisis, realizing that all of their beloved fictional characters are, therefore, also not real? Or am I thinking about this like a 31 year old, and not like a 2 or 3 year old? Maybe little kids just accept that Regan isn't real, without considering the implications for Mickey and Lola.

Susan (my Bonus Mom) called me and told me that she'd always felt dishonest with the whole Santa thing, and that she wishes she hadn't done it. So, here I thought, since she was first to reply, that everyone was going to be all "good for you!" etc. Hahaha...

It would be very silly to make them sit on the steps while we say, "It's very interesting down here..." (a tradition that goes back generations in my family, and is the whole point of living in a two story house!) if we don't do Santa. It would also be difficult to explain stockings, which are one of my favorite parts of The Big Day.

As far as traditions go, we're planning on doing a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve, having a fire in the fireplace, listening to carols, and reading "The Grinch" or "The Night Before Christmas," or some other appropriately themed book. We'll open one present that night (new jammies, of course). We'll probably have a special meal, too. Maybe turkey, although BJ and I haven't quite decided yet. Then we'll get up on Christmas morning and open presents and eat breakfast, and then head up to Grammaland.

Last year I tried to do reindeer food and stuff with BJ's niece and nephew (4 and 2 at the time) when we were at his mom's, and they were not impressed. Maybe it's different when it's your own kids in your own house, or maybe it's different when it's not your crazy aunt who you (essentially) just met two days ago trying to run the show. I know one year, my cousin Bridget freaked right out when her uncles went outside and shook sleigh bells - she thought Santa would skip her house because she wasn't at home asleep.

Well, we'll see. Like I said, we still have a little over a year (maybe more) to decide. Right now, my house is a mess and my kids are needing a nap, so I need to think of other, less weighty, things.

In other news, how cute are we???

You can't see it in this picture, but my shoes and BJ's tie are the same plaid as the girls' dresses. This was at Mom's Christmas open house last night at her business. One guy saw us taking these pictures, and he thought that Mom had hired us to stand there and look perfect as an advertisement of some sort. Ha!


Jen said...

"Or am I thinking about this like a 31 year old, and not like a 2 or 3 year old?"

I think you hit the nail on the head. As far as the "fear" of Santa is concerned, looking back through my baby book, in every single picture, till I was about 8 I was screaming bloody murder. In fact, Santa still kinda freaks me out in person (especially knowing what I know about mall Santas... but that's another post) but I sure like when he slips down my much too narrow chimney and leaves me cool stuff...

Also, remember that just because MG is so verbal does NOT mean that she thinks like a 5 or 6 year old. If you want a taste of a more standard 2 year old, come hang out with Jade. She is just about exactly where all the books, etc, say a kid her age should be. And she's NOT singing whole songs, etc... that's VERY VERY advanced behavior. Like I said, just because her speech is so advanced does not mean the other stuff is at the same level.

Jen said...

Oh yeah, and remember, you can still do all the "traditional" stuff you talked about in this post right along with Santa. You don't have to choose between the meaning of Christmas, the real St.Nick, etc. We had both growing up, and it worked out fine...

Fulmer Fam said...

So cute, my husband was a match a phobe until the kids came along, I will have to get him to do this some day :)

The Mom who lied to you :) said...

Santa is kind of like the grandpa that pulls a quarter out of your ear every time you see him. When you are little you think that it's the most amazing thing you've ever seen, you are mesmerized by how magical he is. When you get older, you figure out that it's a trick, but that doesn't mean you are mad at him for doing it when you were little. You just remember fondly how good it felt to be so amazed. Santa is the same way. Little kids can't seperate fantasy and reality. If you tell them there's a blue monster in their closet, they believe you and are scared to death! That's why we keep them away from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre! It's real to them. Santa is real too, they don't think about HOW he gets down that 8 inch chimney, or how those reindeer fly, they just believe because that's how they are wired. The parents that get too carried away with making it all logical and real are the ones that get themselves in a pickle (i.e. Bridget and the bells story!) We they are little they believe, they just believe. They lay awake in their bed and are so excited they can't stand it. They are SURE they heard those reindeers' bells on the roof at 2 a.m.! It's part of the joy of being a child, being able to believe in the happy fun things at least for a few years till some third grader tells you that your parents do it, and you want to deck him! It also takes the buying issue out of it, because Santa doesn't have to pay for anything, he makes it all. (Obviously Santa's elves work for free and Santa has worked something out with the government and doesn't have to pay minimum wage, FICA or health insurance etc. how does Santa do that!?!)
Consequently kids feel free to ask for their heart's desire, whether mom and dad can afford it or not. Santa gives them the freedom to be a kid and not have to worry if mom can afford that bike or ipod or whatever.
I think everyone goes through this same phase as a parent. Do I or don't I have Santa? It's one of the decisions of parenting. All I can say is, I don't think any of you three kids hate me for "lying to you" about Santa, any more than you hate David Copperfield for disappearing and reappearing on the motorcycle. It's all magic, and fantasy and that joyful heart that children have for such a short time. The memories are precious to you, and they will be to them too, years from now. Without Santa, Christmas is just another Hallmark day. Santa puts the magic in Christmas.

Di said...

Have to say-great photo of the family!
What do you mean there's no Santa and/or Rudolph? An idea: watch the Polar Express-then we'll talk.
(the mind and heart smile when they can escape and 'play' in the fantasy for a while.)
As for me, I believe. Memories with family, relatives and Santa were a huge part of my childhood; fantastic memories.

Lisa said...

Our children are grown but when they first asked us about Santa we told them the truth, "Santa is not real." We did however, tell them we wanted to pretend with them that Santa was real. They loved it! We had a great time teaching our children how to use their imagination and make believe. We also told them that many parents keep it a secret and that they should not tell their friends. They never did. They have never expressed any bad feelings about our choice and they have grown up to be very creative, fun-loving, adults.