Santa Is Real
December 2, 2010
© Denene Millner of MyBrownBaby
This is how it’s gonna go down in the Millner/Chiles household from now on and forever more: Any kid who comes to my house talking about “there is no Santa Claus” will not be invited back until June, when nobody’s thinking about Christmas.
I just don’t need your kid ruining it for my kids.
On the real, my Mari and Lila believe in Santa Claus—period. The red suit. The jolly laugh. The chocolate-colored skin and his penchant to bump Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” on his sleigh radio while he and his multi-cultural band of elves from all around the world deliver presents and jingle the bells. All of the reindeer—especially Rudolph—are adorable. My girls believe all of that.
And for this, I’m grateful. Because I’m a firm believer that children should be allowed to be children—that the magic and sanctity of being a kid should be respected and protected as long as humanly possible. In my house, letting my babies believe in Santa preserves that sanctity—helps them hold on to the magic of Christmas, and their childhood, just a little while longer.
Around this time of the year, that magic sparkles at our place. We’ve been making homemade presents—including new versions of our family scrap/cook book, Home Made Love. We’ve been downing festive cupcakes and plotting out who will get a tin of our peanut butter kiss cookies. And we’ve been blasting our favorite Christmas songs by Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Dianne Reeves, Will Downning, Tony Bennett, Faith, Run-DMC, James Brown and Stevie Wonder. And trust: I’m TOTALLY milking the whole, “Oh, wait, so you’re not listening to Mommy now? Okay, stay right there—let me get Santa on the phone and see what he thinks about that…” (That last, um, behavior correction tool works like fairy pixie dust; it's a game changer. I swear I milk that bad boy all the way down to the last second of Christmas Eve. And sometimes, even after Christmas is over. What? You didn't know Santa sends an elf or two back to the house to snatch up the toys of bad ass kids? You better ask somebody.)
See, this is about much more than selling pipe dreams and holiday lies. We’re creating memories. I’ll never forget the one time my girls were upstairs singing “This Christmas” while they made “Santa Soup” on the play kitchen Santa had brought them a few years ago (the kitchen is the showpiece in their “restaurant,” which they lovingly christened “Lacey’s Grill.” No, I have no clue who in the world Lacey is.) Lila wore her blue tutu to the grand opening, and sang while she took my order. The “Santa Soup” was divine.
Another year, my girls spread paper all across the kitchen table, pulled out every bottle of paint we had in the house, and created pictures of angels for our kitchen art gallery, a stunning picture of a church for their Papa Jimmy’s Christmas present and, of course, a sweet picture of a sleigh and reindeer designed to accompany their thank you notes to Santa. Those are hanging up in Santa’s workshop. Yes, they are.
And I’ve got an album full of Christmas photos of half-eaten cookies, half-emptied glasses of milk, stray jingle bells and Santa presents, all taken over the years since my girls were born—all that translate into page upon page of giggles and immense joy.
Seriously, can it get any better than that? They’re excited, you know? Bouncing around. Giddy. Because Santa is coming to town.
Here’s what’s also real in our household, though: My kids know that Jesus is the reason for the season. After they inspect their gifts from the big guy, we make breakfast together and, after Grace, we sing “Happy Birthday” to Him (the Stevie Wonder version, of course), and then remind each other how blessed we are to be surrounded by a beautiful, loving, close-knit family. That right there? That’s the true gift of Christmas—a gift that’s with us every single day of the year.
And Santa? He’s the icing on the cake for my babies—the cake that’s served only once a year, for one day.
Now, I’m not knocking the parents who tell their kids there is no Santa—what you do in your house, what you tell your kids is between you and yours. But please, before you send your kid to my place, have the talk with her—the one where you explain that people have the right to their beliefs, and that sometimes, those beliefs don’t necessarily jibe with everyone else’s, and so it’s best that maybe we keep the whole “Santa isn’t real” talk to ourselves.
Especially if you want to see Mari and Lila around the holidays.
Otherwise, they’ll send you a nice “we sure do miss you—see you in June” note.