Why I Still Love Santa Even Though He's Getting All The Credit For Our Work!
I had a serious, come-to-Christmas moment on December 23rd, right around midnight.
I was knee deep in snowman wrapping paper, gold bows, overpriced sticky tags, cardboard Amazon boxes and Disney Store shopping bags. A Modern Family rerun played on the TV, just loudly enough to drown out the sound of my scissors. Joe was fast asleep on the couch with Fiona curled up in the crook of his elbow.
I didn’t mind that Joe fell asleep; he caught strep throat from Patrick and absolutely needed the extra z’s. But as I suffered my fourth paper cut of the evening, I found myself questioning if Santa Claus is a good idea.
Not because I am overly concerned with the commercialism of Christmas. We all know this is Geoffrey the Giraffe’s favorite holiday. My issue with Santa is 100% selfish.
Why am I doing all this work if some dude in a red suit is going to get all the credit?
Here is a rundown of what happened at our house in the past 2 weeks.
Patrick got sick and missed more than one week of school, which cut down significantly on my prep opportunities for Christmas. Joe took off three days to help me get our lives in order and ended up spending those three days with a splitting headache, sore throat and some huge lymph nodes popping out of his neck. I got in way over my head and committed to making fresh donuts, cookies, cupcakes and a french toast casserole for four different parties. I realized Sadie got some sort of green gooey stuff on her perfect plaid dress and had to beg the dry cleaner to get it out before Christmas morning.
So maybe you understand why, as I wrapped what felt like the 800th present, I felt completely and utterly OVER the idea of Santa flying in on a blaze (sleigh) of glory, snagging all the love, praise and adoration.
I know, bah humbug. Pity party. Mommy moment. Blah, blah, blah.
I honestly felt bad for thinking that way. I’m that mom that LOVES Christmas; the music, traditions, parties, all of it. I especially love our elf (who is never just sitting on a shelf). But I was burnt out; totally sick and tired of everyone in this house BEING sick and tired. So I wallowed in some hardcore Grinchiness for a solid hour.
How did I push through? Pretty simple. I challenged myself to come up with three reasons why every single mom and dad can and should LOVE Santa Claus, even as we pull the cellophane off a 10th roll of scotch tape and slide the 16th sheet of snickerdoodles out of the oven, only to find the bottoms are burnt. Yes, even in those moments. The ones we all have, and they all suck 🙂
Here they are:
- Imaginations run wild. I am a huge proponent of letting children be little. If Sadie wants to draw a purple horse running through cotton candy grass under a rainbow cloud, I fully endorse that. If Patrick grabs two carrot sticks and starts drumming on my kitchen table (that is literally happening right now) I am the first one dancing and telling him to “turn up the beet.”(veggie humor). Life tends to get really serious as we get older. Eventually we all accept the “sky is blue, grass is green” realities. I want my two to soak up as much fantasy and magic as possible while they can. That means throwing all my support behind the big three: Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy for as long as we can (or at least until it gets weird).
- The Fear Factor. Now that Sadie and Patrick are 4 ½ and more aware of the consequences of bad behavior, I understand the value of Santa’s legendary lists. The prospect of landing on the naughty list keeps my two in check during the winter months. The positive vibe of Santa’s nice list enables Joe and I to reward good behavior without creating an expectation that WE will give the kids gifts for every good deed. Sadie and Patrick focused in on sharing, listening, helping out around the house and saying “please” and thank you” to earn their presents from Santa, not us. In fact, they only thing they asked for today was a piece of paper and a pen to write Santa a thank you note!
- The Long Play. You know what really ended my December 23rd Santa bashing? The realization of just how much I appreciate my parents for all they did for me every Christmas. I grew up as the oldest of four kids, with only 6 years between my brother (the youngest child) and I. I cannot even begin to calculate the money, time and effort my parents invested into Christmas from 1982 until the mid 90s. They played Santa Claus for a LONG time, handing out piles and piles of presents without so much as one word of gratitude offered in their direction. And now they are playing Santa again for their 4 grandchildren. My mom even set up a grandchildren’s tree in her living room so Santa would have a special drop off point at her house just for the kids. Now that I’m old enough to “get it” I’m absolutely overwhelmed by my parent’s selflessness; their dedication to the magic of Christmas and willingness to sit back and let Santa take centerstage. I wonder if they realized exactly what I’m figuring out right now-that someday we’d grow up to know not just the truth about who brings the gifts, but how incredibly special it is to do ALL that for someone you love, without asking for anything in return. For me, that’s the lesson of this Christmas.
Santa Claus, I love you. Thank you for giving us something to believe in. See you next year, big guy 🙂