Christmas was a whole new adventure this year, now that my little boy is old enough to be fully aware of Santa Claus, or more fittingly, the man who gives presents.
It started when we thought it would be okay to put the presents we had already received under tree. Of course, my son immediately spotted them and exclaimed, “Presents!”
With a coy glance to my husband, I thoughtfully explained, “Yes, these are gifts from Grandma and Grandpa and your aunt and uncle. They give gifts, too, for Christmas.”
“Okay.” [Pause.] “They’re from Santa! Santa came!”
“No, these are from your family.”
“Presents from Santa. Yaaaah!”
And in just five seconds, I realized presents = Santa. Let’s not overcomplicate it.
“Yes, you’re right. They’re from Santa.”
After wave one of gifts, my son set his sights on the next round of gift giving, talking eagerly about Christmas and Santa arriving with his sleigh. I wondered what he was hoping to get from him — Play Doh? Ice cream? Books, maybe? So I asked him:
“What do you want for Christmas?”
“What kind of presents?”
“Brown.” Followed by, “I am not a naughty boy. I don’t want a lump of coal. I want presents.”
Who needs Elf on the Shelf? Who needs time-outs? This is genius. Somehow, our son had so succumbed to the allure of presents, that just the mention of Santa was enough to keep him in line.
Soon, I caught myself saying, “Santa isn’t very happy with you throwing your food on the floor.” “Jumping on the couch is naughty. Do you want to be a naughty boy?” And so on. I didn’t feel 100% great about it, but when something works, you go with it. And Christmas was just around the corner, so I knew I could only use this new magical power for a few more days.
But then, I kinda kept it going. I realized that Santa could live on beyond Christmas.
“Just because you got your toys from Santa, doesn’t mean he can’t take them away and replace them with a lump of coal.”
I’m serious. I said that.
I was stuck between two emotions: exhilaration (Santa was transforming my son into a perfect angel) and guilt (I might be warping his impression of jolly ole St. Nick in the process).
The guilt was really starting to win out, until the other day, when we were talking about birthdays (one of my son’s favorite topics — and mine).
“I want to invite Santa to my birthday party, Mommy.”
“Sure, buddy. We can invite him, though we’re not sure he’ll be able to make it, seeing as he lives on the North Pole and all. But we can ask.”
“Yeah. Let’s ask him.”
Go figure. While I’m over-thinking and worrying about the image I’m painting of Santa, my son simply thinks of him as his friend. Who wouldn’t? He gives presents. The brown kind.
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About Sabrina Clark.