Ryan and I both loved Santa when we were growing up. So when Anna was born we discussed the whole Santa debate. We really wanted to let our kids experience Santa. But we weren't too keen on telling them a big fat lie and crushing their dreams one day. So here's what we came up with. We decided to let them in on the Santa experience but be willing to tell them the truth the first time they sincerely inquired about his existence.
Well, last Christmas the kids popped the big question. Hesitantly, we did as planned and told them the truth. They took it pretty well. We still put out cookies for Santa, we still sprinkled oatmeal on the yard for the reindeer, we still read Santa books and watched the Polar Express (LOVE IT) and of course, we still opened our gifts from Santa on Christmas Day. It wasn't as magical as the previous year when they still believed, but it was still lots of fun. We were pretty satisfied with how we handled everything until Luke's kindergarten teacher pulled me aside a few months ago.
Now I forgot to mention that when Luke learned that there was no Santa, he was a mere four years old. That's pretty young to know the truth, so we emphatically encouraged him (well, maybe we threatened his life, I don't really remember) but we emphasized the importance of letting his preschool friends who still believed in Santa learn the truth from their parents, NOT him. Shockingly, he obeyed, as far as we know.
Flash forward almost a year later to a lovely October day in Luke's kindergarten. (Yes, that's October. Not December or even November. I really had planned to remind Luke and Anna about our little promise to let believers' parents tell them the truth, but in October? Goodness, there's no way I'm thinking that far ahead!) Well, a year is a long time for a little five year old, and needless to say, Luke either forgot or just didn't care and took it upon himself to blab to truth to an unsuspecting friend.
Well, this little guy didn't take it quite as well as Anna and Luke had, nosiree. The poor lad who's third grade sister still believes too told his mom what that mean boy said about Santa. His mom told Luke's teacher who promptly moved Luke's seating position away from the grieving boy. Now the Baders have become that family who doesn't believe in Santa.
Good grief. Such drama.
Anyway, I'll leave that story as a backdrop to our recent ride on Knoxville's Santa Train. Ryan's dad treated us to this fun ride through some of Knoxville's countryside. Even if Caroline is the only believer left in our family (not for long, I say, not for long) we had such a nice time riding the train, eating yummy snacks and hot chocolate (Polar Express style) listening to a sweet Christmas book, and visiting with old Ho Ho himself. The troublemaker. No really, it was such a sweet, fun experience that the kids will remember for a long time. Thanks Paw Paw.
An afterthought: After detailing Luke's kindergarten blab tale, an old memory crept out of my subconscious. I distinctly remember sitting in my kindergarten class at a tiny round table with three friends (one of whom was constantly getting sick because of the amount of glue he injested) as we colored a picture of Santa climbing out of a chimney. This was my comment: "This is so stupid. Santa isn't even real." The reason I so vividly remember this is not because I thought that I had ruined the magic of Santa for my friends. No, that selfless thought never entered my brain. It's because I was horrified at the prospect of my teacher finding out I had said the word "stupid." Maybe Luke was just trying to pass on a little kindergarten family tradition.
Posted by Beth at 9:31 PM