After some time off for the holidays, I returned to work ready to face the way over-used greeting: “Welcome back, how was your holiday?” Of course, everyone is expecting to hear “It was great–stinks having to come back to work.” However, this year I didn’t give that jovial, canned answer. I chose to just call it like it was. “It stunk—and man, am I glad to be back to work.” Talk about making people uncomfortable. How can someone have 10 days off work and not be happy? Well, let me tell you why.
You see, this year at Christmas in my house “Santa Claus” was no longer.
Now before you start with your Grinch comments, rest assured that my daughters still received way more gifts than they needed. But this year, according to my youngest, “Santa” did not bring them. For the first time since being a parent, I had to face the inevitable: “Dad, I know there really isn’t a Santa.” For some, this day might be a blessing. But for me, Mr. Tradition, it was a very hard pill to swallow.
The “No Santa” revelation started a couple of weeks before Christmas, so I knew I still had some time to orchestrate “Operation Believe!” I did the usual questioning:
Well if there is no Santa, where do the gifts come from?
If there is no Santa, who always eats the cookies, drinks the milk, and leaves the note?
What about all the Christmas specials on TV where Santa is the main character?
How do you explain all of this, I asked? As I suspected, my daughter had a well-thought and rational answer to all of my questions. My last-ditch effort to thwart this non-believer attitude was to pop in “The Polar Express” movie. (Side note: Although “Rudolph” is my all-time favorite holiday classic, “The Polar Express” is a close second with the messages that it delivers.)After watching the movie I asked my daughter, “So do you think you will hear the bell this year?” She had a very odd look on your face and kind of mumbled, “Maybe.” With a glimmer of hope I replied, “I sure hope you do.”
Fast forward to Christmas morning and my daughter was up at the crack of dawn (4:15 a.m. to be exact) eager and excited. We both went downstairs together and what do you think was the first thing she noticed? No, not the sloppily wrapped presents. Not the stockings over-flowing with chewing gum either. It was a note that Santa had left. After reading it, I saw her smile so I asked, “Well, what did it say?” She repeated back some of the content of the note. (She even pointed out that the handwriting was the same as previous Santa notes.) She put the note back on the table, and with a wry little grin, she said, “I’ll leave this for Kiersten to read.” After all the hullabaloo of the morning was over and we were all just sitting around, I asked my daughter if she “heard the bell.” Her answer? “I think I did.”
For those of you with younger kids, enjoy your Santa days to their fullest. You might be happy to have that stressful Christmas season over, but savor the moments when the kids get excited about good ole Saint Nick’s yearly chimney plunge. Because one of these days, they might not hear that bell anymore. And trust me, you will wish they did.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Robb-21.jpg
[author_info]About the Author
Robb J. is one of our regular Parenting and Man Cave contributors who is stuck somewhere in the middle of a paradigm shift and the status quo. He is a 41-year-old single dad who likes swimming in the deep end without the use of floaties. He raises two daughters–a teen and a preteen. He would appreciate a moment of silence for that. [/author_info][/author]