He looked up at me with innocence and inquisition behind those big drops of coal. “Auntie Shannon, is Santa Claus real?” Peering around the corner in the next room, I could see my sons and the horror on their face that revealed they had killed the fantasy. I had no idea what to say so I popped a whole coffee drenched ginger snap in my mouth, giving myself a moment to think.
This is not the first time an offspring of mine murdered the myth. When the oldest was four, I received a frantic call from his teacher “Uhmmm…can you just come get him…quickly. I’ll explain when you get here.” I entered a classroom full of crying students and a red faced teacher who was desperately trying to maintain some since of order as she unraveled what had happened in the moments before.
The students were coloring holiday pictures when the little girl next to Cameron expresses her excitement over Santa’s upcoming visit….
Cameron: You do know Santa isn’t real.
Pigtails: Uh huh, how do you think you get the presents under the tree?
Cameron: Your mom and dad put them there.
Pigtails: That is not true! He comes down the chimney and everything.
Cameron: No he doesn’t. There is not a Santa Claus!
Pigtails: Mrs. McGinnis (screaming) Cameron said there isn’t a Santa Claus!
Cameron: Because there isn’t!
Emotions erupt in the class as students start yelling at Cameron and crying.
Cameron: (now standing on the table and yelling) There is not a Santa Claus! And if your parents tell you there is they are lying and all the liars are gonna go to hell!
Hence the phone call.
As the teacher is telling the story, she admits that she too tells her children that Santa is real and wonders if she is also going to hell for the little white lie. We made it out before pick up and the lynching that was sure to occur due to my little preacher.
The ginger snap has now dissolved and the little one is egging on my response. “Yeah mom, is he?” The smile in his eyes proves he is taunting me. I turn to the eight year old and say “Baby, every family has their own belief about Santa. Some believe in him and some don’t. I think the important thing is that whatever you believe is true for you.”
His response: “Just like Jesus.”