Wednesday, December 24, 2008

on the existence of santa claus

It's Christmas Eve. The candles are lit. The cookies are out. Neighbors and friends have dropped by. The children are asleep. The stockings are stuffed. The only thing left to do is bring in the sled and the skis and the backpacks from the garage and put them under the tree. Eat the cookies (leave some crumbs), drink the milk (but not all of the milk). Don't forget the carrots outside. Most importantly, make sure any and all evidence of parental Santa-playing is taken out to the trash.

This year, however, it's a bit more complicated. There are letters to be answered.

My sons have left notes for Santa to wake them up when he gets here--so they can see him. This year, they have put on Mr. Claus the burden of proof. They have also admonished him to not forget the animals. And they have questions. They just don't seem to trust jolly old St. Nick as much as they used to. "Do you have duplicates from time-jumping?" the letter asks.  Next to the cookies, they have also left a blank sheet of paper and a pencil for Santa to write them back.

The myth that is Santa was fully put to the test this year by our two sons. So far, his reputation is holding up, but not without some rumors. 

A rumor came home from school with my older son.  Apparently, he said, some of the kids were saying it's just your parents who leave the presents under the tree.  He's not quite buying it yet.  Grant is intrigued and fairly convinced by the seemingly scientific NORAD sleigh specs. (you'll have to click on the far right building to get them). He has reasoned that there are multiple Santas, but this has not shaken his absolute faith in the man himself. He thought he was terribly clever for discovering all on his own that cloning is responsible for Santa's dopplegangers.  Well, either that or time travel.

As for Bennett, this year he noticed that the Santa from one year's photo doesn't quite match up to the one in another. He brought two pictures from where they were perched, and forced me to look at them. "See?!" he demanded. "Hmm.. why do you think that is?" I asked. He didn't answer...... just kept staring at them.

Their powers of observation and discernment are coming into play. They are looking at the world with new eyes; eyes that see not only the stark red and white of Santa's suit, but that will soon see the subtler shades of pink. Their minds are teetering between reality and fantasy. Accepting answers given to them, perhaps, but with a twinge of doubt. They are struggling and searching for the truth in a way that is constructivist and meaningful. This awakening has been fascinating to witness.  I want them to figure it out for themselves. I will not tell them that there is or is not a Santa Claus. I'm just going to patiently wait until the year they figure it out for themselves. The way I see it, they are gaining the skills that will serve them well in a world that will often attempt to feed them false prophets and propaganda.

Last year, one of my favorite Santa conversations happened while G and B were getting tucked into their bunk beds:

Doubting B the Younger (from below): So how DOES Santa get to all those houses all over the world in one night anyway?
All-knowing G the Elder (looking down from above): "Duuuhhhh...... He's MAGIC!?"

It's not quite that easy this year. But the magic is still present. Neither of them seems to ever question how reindeer can fly. That just seems to be a given.

I have to go now. NORAD says Santa will be here soon. And if I want him to answer those letters, I better well be fast asleep!

3 comments:

Fairy said...

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citizen of the world said...

Oh look! a Christmas fairy left you some spam!


I miss those old believing-in-Santa days, but even though they are behind us, we still continue all the traditions. Hope it's a great one!

Marina Eckler said...

"Those summer evenings by the government lake,
talking about the paradox of multiple Santas
or how it felt to have your heart broken."

That's from a David Berman poem, but I think he borrowed that phrase- the paradox of multiple Santas. Maybe not.

I'm going now Sue, to collect my 12k money coupon HOHOHoh