I will admit I am not a mother who takes great joy in the magic and make believe side of holidays. I find it tiring to constantly fib to my kids about the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and the jolly elf himself, Santa Claus. I am also really bad at telling lies, just ask my parents! I was not the mom who fibbed about the playgrounds being closed just because I didn’t want to go. I try to tell my kids the age appropriate truth about lots of things—even when it makes me squirmy. If they can deal with losing a friend to cancer at 6 years old, then they can handle information about pandemics, war, and why bad things happen. Children are remarkably resilient.
My little men are 8 and 10 this year. And while the younger man still whole heartedly accepts my fibs, I got busted by my elder boy when the tooth fairy snuck in just a wee bit too soon one evening after bedtime. He didn’t let on until the next morning, but he quickly extrapolated as to what no tooth fairy meant for the rest of the magic in his holidays. I neither confirmed nor denied his assertions, but I did tell him to leave his brother out of it. I knew I’d been found out.
I did momentarily feel a little sad that some of the magic was gone, but it didn’t last. I have long said I couldn’t wait for the day that we could all share in the magic without the trickery. Santa and the bunny and the tooth fairy can all still exist (and they do!), but everyone (except Mr. 8) is in on it. It is way more fun this way. I knew it would be, even growing up, with siblings much older than myself, we never really spoke the “truth” of Santa and the others. One time I remember mentioning it to my brother when he was 15 and I was only 7, said with total sincerity, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, don’t let mom hear you say that,” when I asked him if Santa was real. So I never did, and we all played along, and still do to some extent. It is the best!
I tell you all of this, because the way I see it, the wonder of Christianity—the baby in the manger, the man on the cross, and all the miraculous things that happened in between—is so much better when we are all in on the secret. It is magical and mysterious, and open to theological interpretation and debate. That makes it even better, when everyone is welcomed into the story, to ask questions and explore. We can better appreciate the awe in it when we start to understand it. We better understand the needs of others when we meet them where they are and sit with them and learn from them. While the whole Santa thing is fun, sharing the secret and having everyone a part of it, is better, at least in my books. Merry Christmas!