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Suspect Santas and self-assembly stress. So this is Christmas

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#1 AmityD

Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:51 PM

So Christmas is done and dusted for another year. The ham has been eaten, the tree taken down and the novelty of the new toys already worn off. I don’t know about you, but as an adult I find Christmas equal parts fun and exhausting. At the start of the festival season I get all excited about it, but then after weeks of present shopping, food prep, entertaining, Santa visits, school events and end of year concerts I’m ready for it to all be over.

This year one of the most exhausting aspects of the festive season was keeping up the Santa illusion for my 5 and a half year old, who is becoming increasingly smart and suspect about the whole thing. As I am most certainly not ready for him to let go of that innocence yet, I put extra effort into keeping the magic alive for a little longer. On top of this, the fact that I can successfully use the naughty or nice list as behaviour bribery for at least 6 weeks leading up to Christmas, I am REALLY not ready to give that up.

However, our first trip to see Santa didn’t exactly help with this plan, when Jamison decided he wasn’t the real Santa because he was wearing lace up shoes instead of boots. Rookie mistake Myer Santa, don’t you know Santa always wears boots?!

With our second visit to see Santa (thanks to a grumpy toddler, my dodgy photo taking effort and refusal to spend $40 on a professional shot it meant I didn’t get any good photos last time) I thought we were onto a sure thing. I canvassed the Santa and decided he was pretty convincing, he was wearing boots, had a nice round tummy, the perfect small specs and just the right warm and ruddy face. So I put the kids on his knee, Jamison gave him a long list of requests, I got the photo and as we left I excitedly said to my son ‘Wow, I’m pretty sure he was the real one!’ ‘No Mum,’ he replied. ‘His eyebrows were painted white. He’s fake too.’ Sigh.

This revelation lead to a conversation about Santa’s helpers, who work in the shopping centres because the real Santa can’t get to them all, and a screening of the movie Polar Express, which is all about believing. Whether he wanted to or not I was going to make damn sure my boy believed!

A few days later the question I had been dreading was put to me in an earnest voice, ‘Mum, is Santa real?’
‘Of course he is!’ I exclaimed. But with his little face appearing unconvinced I turned it back to him, ‘Do you think he’s real?’ I queried, holding my breath as I waited for his reply. He pondered on it for a long time, before putting me out of my misery. ‘Yes, I think he is’ he finally decided. Phew.

So with his new found scepticism the importance of details became all consuming. I bought special wrapping paper for the Santa presents, having the same paper as our gifts just would not do. I typed a note from Santa to the kids, as my handwriting would be a dead giveaway. I couldn’t resist putting a line in the letter about keeping up their good behaviour too, so the presents would be forthcoming next Christmas. I’m intending to use that little bribery tool for the whole next year. And finally I ordered bags with both of the kids names written on them, bags which ‘the elves made.’

When Christmas Eve arrived the excitement level was high. We put out milk, cookies and carrots for the reindeers. We left a note and picture for Santa, thanking him for the presents. And as both children peacefully slept Phil and I put two lines of flour on the front porch, in the shape of sleigh tracks. I was slightly concerned Jamison would immediately know it was flour and not snow, but we decided that ‘dried snow’ would be the explanation, which would hopefully be plausible for a kid who’s never seen snow before.
So did that final act of Santa staging mean the end of our night? Are you kidding? The pain and effort was only just beginning, for now it was time for present assembly.  

How hard can it be to assemble a basketball ring, I figured when I bought it. Bloody hard, is the answer. Having a husband who detests assembling anything certainly didn’t help. How I got him on a renovating TV show I will never know! Reminding him that I was going to get a trampoline, so he should be thanking me, didn’t help either. After an hour of fumbling around with seemingly incoherent instructions and a basketball net which was ‘obviously made wrong,’ Phil was cursing the basketball ring, cursing me for buying it and cursing Christmas in general. Joy to the world. I responded by having another glass of wine and turning up the carols to drown out his whining. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

At one stage he asked me frustratingly, ‘Why do we put ourselves through this?’ To which I replied, ‘We’re parents. We sacrifice our own sanity for our children’s happiness.’  

Thankfully the basketball ring came together, the children stayed asleep and Christmas morning finally arrived. And was the reaction worth all the effort? A million times over. Jamison’s squeals of delight as he awoke to the sleigh tracks on the front porch, his joy at finding his specially addressed letter and personalised bag, and his excitement that Santa managed to fit a basketball ring in his sleigh were worth every orchestration. That precious time of believing is gone so quickly, I will do everything I can to keep that joyful innocence alive.

Days after Christmas, as he was playing with his new toys, Jamison came into the kitchen and said enquiringly ‘Mum, there’s an IKEA tag on the chair Santa brought me.’ I inhaled sharply, surely it can’t all come undone now, over such a simple mistake? I mentally constructed my reasoning, ready for the inevitable outcome. But before I could respond he finished, ‘Santa must shop at IKEA like us!’  

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all my readers. I hope it was a magic one for each and everyone of you. Amity xx

How was your Christmas? Did you go to great lengths to keep the Santa magic alive for your kids? How long did they believe in Santa for? And do you have stories of self-assembly stress?!

#2 3_for_me

Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:58 PM

My mums standard respinse to the suspect questions was " well that is up to you to deide but bear in mind that santa only comes to children who believe in him.  So it is up to you whether you believe but do you really want to take the risk?". laughing2.gif  love my mum, she so good at psyching people out Tounge1.gif

#3 jkmt

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:20 AM

At least your Santa shops at IKEA - my son noted that Santa shops at the Reject Shop!

Seriously though, I've always told my boys that 'Only those who believe receive'. So while I'm pretty sure they have both worked it out, neither of them is about to tell us about it.

#4 giggleandhoot

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:22 AM

I found it hard this year with our 6 year old. Didn't help we had a dodgy Myer Santa too, we travelled 3 hours JUST to take the kids to Santas cave. Then when we told Santa this...he told us (in his non santa voice) his Son lived up near Kempsey and he drove up there one year while his son was on his P plates and how long it took.
Thanks Santa. We had to remind him maybe he should've used his sleigh and the kids now wonder why Santas son lives in Kempsey.

#5 EBeditor

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:31 AM

We had to remind him maybe he should've used his sleigh and the kids now wonder why Santas son lives in Kempsey.

ddoh.gif I'm sorry, but that's hilarious!

#6 *Ker*

Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:55 PM

I told my kids that when I stopped believing in Santa, I stopped getting presents. It worked!

I found a great santa in my local shop. It was an old bloke and I don't think he had any padding lol. But my kids are of the belief that Santa comes to the pageant here then flies home to prepare for Christmas, leaving all his helpers to talk to kids and report to santa with what they want.

#7 Liberty12

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:12 PM

I can't believe you would look your child in the eye and lie. Especially when there are plenty of good behavioural management techniques out there other than bribing a child with presents or threatening their non-delivery. Maybe keep up the Santa myth for a younger child, but surely by 5 they're old enough to be told the truth.

#8 CG123

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:22 PM

QUOTE (Liberty12 @ 05/01/2012, 10:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I can't believe you would look your child in the eye and lie. Especially when there are plenty of good behavioural management techniques out there other than bribing a child with presents or threatening their non-delivery. Maybe keep up the Santa myth for a younger child, but surely by 5 they're old enough to be told the truth.

Bah humbug! ph34r.gif

#9 babytiger

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:26 PM

I am not sure how much longer my DD will belive she is 8yrs old.

#10 nicki-b

Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:32 PM

Ah Liberty12 you are a crack up.  Glad you aren't my Mum!

#11 Tosca

Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:31 PM

Goodness!! My DD just turned 10 and still believes!!

#12 2littleladies

Posted 07 January 2012 - 05:04 PM

My DD is 6 and has been questioning Santa since she was 3.5.  I have always maintained that I don't like to lie to the kids so I say I have never seen santa but the spirit of santa is very real.  In my lifetime santa has always been around so who am I to say that he is not real!  As far as I am concerned the spirit of Santa is VERY real, luckily she has yet to question what a spirit is wink.gif

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