Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Christmas time in our family is spent with my in-laws. Church for a 4:30 p.m. mass on Christmas Eve and then back to my in-laws’ house for an extended family, buffet-style, Christmas dinner, complete with Portuguese-style cocktail weenies and finger sandwiches. We eat around the Christmas tree while the kids (5 of them – all boys!) run around downstairs. For the past couple of years, Santa has visited after dinner, ringing the doorbell and coming inside with gifts for the kids. They seem to love this and are in awe of the large man in a red suit. While I never grew up with Santa, and I don’t have the nostalgic feeling that comes from a visit from him, it is neat watching the kids get all excited. And it’s fun to look forward to their reactions.

This year, however, I’m worried.

About a month ago, my six-year-old said, out of the clear blue, “I think Cousin Johnny is Santa.”

Shocked and stunned, I had no idea how to respond. “Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Well, he’s never around when Santa comes to the door.” Again, I am shocked. I can ask my son 100 times to put his dirty clothes in the laundry room and not drop them on the floor, and he is incapable of doing this. But he’s perceptive enough to realize that Cousin Johnny is not in the room when Santa comes and remembers it 11 months later!

I’m not worried that by answering this I’m going to ruin Christmas for my son. I’m worried that my response is going to be repeated to my nephews and end up ruining Christmas for them. I never had to answer questions about Santa or the Easter Bunny before! I can’t check in with my mom and see how she responded. What do I do?! 

I ended up mumbling something under my breath and changing the topic. This worked for the time being, but I needed to nip this one in the bud before I single-handedly ruined Christmas for my extended family.

As soon as possible, I consulted the expert, my sister-in-law. After all, her kids were the ones who would be potentially scarred for life (depending on my answer). She helped me out by telling me how she responded when her kids got confused when they saw Santa standing in front of the grocery store ringing a bell after they had just taken pictures with him at the mall. “I tell them Santa has a lot of helpers around Christmas in order to get everything done. But, he’s always watching to see if you’ve been naughty or nice.”

The threat of the omnipresent Santa looking down on the kids aside, I think the “helping Santa out” response may work. For now, I’m hoping that the question doesn’t come up again. And, if it does, maybe I can quickly shove a cocktail weenie in my son’s mouth as Santa comes in the door this year…

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One thought on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town

  1. we had decided before we were married that we would not going to do Santa Claus.  That of course did not go over very well.  There was the year, my son then 3 told his Zeda that he thought he was Santa Claus.  I was worried about that one.  But my father said, no that is your other grandfather.  Then there was the year, his father said something about the story of Santa.  To which my child replied it was NOT as story, and since his father did not believe in God, it made sense that he would not believe in Santa; but that did not make him not real.  I think he was 6 then.  He is now a teenager, and not confused about his Jewish identity — but those Santa years, I sure was worried.  

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