|My first Christmas (1972)|
I believed in Santa. We didn't celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas, but my husband's family did. Santa was used as a way to (try) to instill good behavior in my sisters and me as the holidays grew closer and we became more impatient. "Remember that Santa is watching!" was heard on more than one occasion throughout the years. Did it work? You bet it did! There was definitely something magical about coming out on Christmas morning to our individual pile of presents near the Christmas tree. We never heard our parents putting them out or putting them together the night before so it truly was magic to us.
As we got older we usually discovered that Santa wasn't quite what we expected by nosing around the house. Perhaps we were just looking for something and came across a wrapped present. Then the inevitable question popped up, "Well, what is it and how did it get here if Santa hasn't come yet?" We figured it out on our own and for a few years after let our parents believe. Eventually, we each broke the news to them that we knew. I think they were more disappointed than we were!
I'll admit that during those years of discovery we did get quite good at partially unwrapping presents to sneak a peak at what we were getting. Now that's a skill worth having!
When my oldest son asked if there was a Santa Claus, my husband and I were fairly certain that he already knew the answer. He was about 10 years old and instead of lie to him at that point just to get a year or two more of innocence from him, we took him aside and told him the truth. We also told him that Santa was real in spirit. That Saint Nicholas did wonderful acts in the name of Christ and that this was why we brought them the legend of Santa. That the gifts were our way of giving them presents to celebrate the Lord's birth. They were birthday presents.
After my oldest knew the truth he enjoyed helping me each Christmas Eve since then putting out the presents and filling the stockings...after his little brother feel asleep, of course! Now he feels like he's a part of the magic. Do I hope that my boys will pass on the legend of Santa to their children in this way? I do, but it will be their choice. All I know is that the memories and joy my husband and I saw in the faces of our little boys at Christmastime is something we will always treasure!