Actually, all three of my sons, ages 10, 7, and 3 all saw Santa for the first time this year! They saw him ride his sleigh around our town square last year and some of them got a glance as he walked past to go into his “area” for visitors, but we purposely didn’t go to “visit” with him. My kids also anxiously await the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a glance of him on the telley. Until this year that was the closest that my boys had been to the big guy.
Santa has been commercialized in recent years. He is sometimes “literally” everywhere – at the mall of course, but also at church for breakfast, and on the square in town, and in the pet store (no really – he is at the pet store?!) Santa’s main job has changed from making sure children are behaving, to fulfilling each child’s every wish. When I was little, I feared my behavior was not “good enough” for Santa, I thought that every man with a white beard might be Santa checking in on me, and I hoped for a dolly. Children today are made to feel ANYTHING (and as many things as they WANT) muttered into the ear of Santa will automatically appear under the tree on Christmas morning (providing they haven’t killed anyone this year).
So WHY did we see Santa this year? No, it wasn’t an accident – I actually planned for us to see the big man as a part of a special outing
My 3 year old, (very, very, soon to be four) loves trains. As his birthday “party” this year, we went on a family outing on the Polar Express. Tickets are a little tricky to get because they sell out so quickly, so I wasn’t able to get tickets on his actual birthday, but he is little and doesn’t really understand how the calendar works and we were able to easily slide that fact right past him. He also thought that I invited everyone there to his birthday party, and we didn’t bother to correct this thought either…
As part of the train ride, after cookies and cocoa, a pajama parade, singing Christmas carols, and reading a book together, we were magically brought to the North Pole. My kids saw Santa and and Mrs Claus, as well as the entire town, from the train, and waved furiously at all of them, Santa got onboard the train and made time to visit with every child. He handed out beautiful silver bells as a gift to everyone as well. When he sat down with my children, he probably didn’t realize that my children had never met him before. He more than met my expectations as his beard was real and he was very gentle and kind with even my extra special kids. He got the whole train to sing Happy Birthday to Babyman (which Babyman later told me is the best thing that EVER happened to him). And most of all, he DIDN’T ask my kiddos what they “wanted” for Christmas!
My 16 year old daughter has seen Santa before when she was really small. As she got older, I felt like it was more magical, to NOT see Santa. It worked so well that just a few years ago we felt it was time to share the magic of Santa with her and we wrote a letter to her that prompted a discussion. The letter explained how we use Santa to teach us to believe in something we can not see, to prepare us to truly believe in the real reason for Christmas and we use this real belief to give selflessly. She was so surprised at this revelation, that we were shocked at the depth of her belief.
In the end, I’m glad my kids saw Santa this year and I’m glad we don’t see him every year. Our memories are special and that is the way we like it!
That’s it for today, an AMAZINGLY SIMPLE way to add magic to your Christmas by seeing, or not seeing, Santa.