I feel like the biggest Grinch admitting this, but you all, I’m so over playing Santa.
Oh, it was fun when the kids were small and still went to bed at 7:00, even on Christmas Eve. We’d tuck them all in and pour ourselves a few drinks, enjoying some Christmas music and the twinkling lights on the tree. Then we’d happily remove all the loot from our closet and arrange it into a most spectacular display of awesomeness for our tiny sleeping angels. I even had time to take photos before heading off to bed to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Fast forward to last year when John and I were the ones ready for bed at 7, but we were all still out making merriment with the relatives until after 9. Once we finally shooed the kids off to bed and collapsed onto the couch, I was dreading the process of playing Santa. Maybe it’s not so much that my kids are too old for Santa, but that I am.
It doesn’t help that they are way more clever now at this age. I advocate that if you are old enough to ask witty questions about the magic of Christmas, then you are too old to participate. Case in point: last year when I was telling the kids to collect their unwanted toys to donate to a charity for children who have none, Henry quipped, “I don’t understand why they need my old toys. Doesn’t santa love the poor kids and bring them toys, too?” See what I mean? Once the innocence turns to inquisitiveness, I say it’s game over.
Adding to our misery (and yes, this was my doing) is the Elf on the Shelf. For anyone without knowledge of this stupid invention, it is a doll that supposedly watches over the kids and reports back to Santa. It also magically moves every night to a new location, so as to “prove” its realness. (not a word, but I’m using it anyway)
This seems like a great idea when the kids are tiny and don’t notice that our Elf only moves once a week, back and forth to the same spots. But kids who are old enough to consult with other kids on the playground at school come home and write notes to the elf, asking him to “throw a party in my room,” or “Send me a photo of your elf family.” In a panic to make at least one more Christmas magical for my children, I obliged a request that we receive a “girl” elf this year and actually spent my precious time sewing a tiny elf dress. I’m both equal parts proud and ashamed. I do, however, draw the line at making fake Elf “messes” that I would have to clean up again myself.
Thomas, at 11, is onto the Elf thing and admitted that he knows it’s not real. Thank God, or I was going to call Central Office and question his test scores. I was so relieved I invited him to help me make the Elf’s new dress, saying, “Aren’t you glad to have all that silliness behind you so you can focus on the real reason for Christmas?” But then he replied, “Yes, that Elf stuff is so silly. At least I know Santa IS real.” Okay then. My bad.
Forget Thomas’ high IQ, I’m putting my money on Henry as the first one to figure it all out. Yesterday he said, “Some people at school have a fake Elf they bought at Target and their parents have to move it every night. I’m glad we got a real one from the North Pole.” He said this with a sly little smile. Then he left his Christmas list with the Elf to be delivered to Santa.
On the letter was written: “Bring me an iPhone 5. Nothing else.”
Who’s calling Santa’s bluff now?