This year, I have started a new tradition with my kids: the Elf on the Shelf. The kids get so excited over finding the elf and then asking it if it talked to Santa. I find it adorable and whimsical. I also know that they won’t believe in Santa forever, but for now it is really cute. The whole thing also reminded me of my own Santa story.
I decided to do the whole Santa thing with my children because of my Santa memories as a child. There are a lot of unpleasant things tied to my childhood, but my mom went out of her way to try to make it as normal as possible. Santa was one instance where she (with the help of my Grandma Rena) went out of her way to keep me believing in Santa and giving me happy memories.
You see, we were never able to do the whole Christmas morning thing. You know, the get up and open presents while still in jammies, blah blah blah. My mom always had everything the night before, and this is how it was done.
She would load me up in the car, and we would go somewhere for supper, usually McDonald’s, which for me was a big deal. Then she would take me to look at Christmas lights or sometimes treat me to a movie. We would get home, and then like magic, all the presents would be around the tree. Santa had left me a note, and I was so happy that I got to open my presents before Christmas.
I found out years later that it was actually my Grandma who played Santa every year. She lived next door and had a key to the house. However, they didn’t have to do that. They could have easily told me the truth about Santa. However, my mom wanted to give me as much of a normal childhood as she could which meant planning something year after year that would keep me believing in something magical about Christmas and filling my head with childhood fancies.
My mom and I have had our ups and downs, but I appreciate how hard she tried. And now here I am, trying to keep my children little and filling their heads with childhood fancies. I know it is not for everyone, but for now, it is working for us, and I love seeing the excitement in my children’s eyes. I want to bottle it up and keep some for myself.