[pullquote]…as a kid he thought the story of a giant rabbit delivering eggs to little girls and boys was more plausible than Santa.[/pullquote]
He heard bits and pieces from the bigger kids on the bus. Classmates talked about it at school. The questions coming home became more complicated and difficult to answer.
“Why does he make the toys when he could just buy them at Walmart?”
“Why isn’t Rudolph in The Night Before Christmas book?”
“Can the reindeer really fly, or does the sleigh have jets?”
The jig was almost up. David was on the verge of realizing Santa wasn’t real. A few more questions, and his analytical mind would crack the riddle. I didn’t want some surly fifth grader in a snowy, dark corner of the playground breaking the news to him. I thought it better if it came from us.
I told my husband Dave one night, “I think it’s time to have THE TALK with David. No, not THAT talk. I mean tell him that Santa isn’t real.”
So, we sat down with David one Sunday afternoon while his little brother Wade was sleeping, and clued him in.
As a life-long Santa unbeliever, I felt inadequate to explain it, so I let my husband take the reins. I don’t know how wise that was considering he told me that as a kid he thought the story of a giant rabbit delivering eggs to little girls and boys was more plausible than Santa. Really? Come on.
David listened quietly as Dave told him Santa wasn’t real. Dave was concerned that David would think we lied to him. Because, well, we did. He went on to explain the origin of Santa, and regaled David with the story of the original St. Nicholas. David’s eyes glazed over for most of that. Dave ended with, “Santa isn’t real, but the idea of Santa is.”
That idea wasn’t concrete enough for David to grasp, so I got in on the history oration, Googled Yes, Virginia there Really is a Santa Clause and read it out loud. That left David slightly more confused. In hindsight, telling him Santa wasn’t real, then reading a letter that said word-for-word that he was real probably wasn’t a good idea. But I enjoyed giving a dramatic, if not moving, reading of the classic letter.
Finally, David asked, “So all that stuff. You gave it to me?”
Then we impressed on David the importance of keeping the myth alive a few more years for little brother Wade. A task that David takes seriously. Almost any reference to Christmas in the presence of Wade is now finished off with, “Because Santa is real! Right, Mom?” Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
Indeed, it seems David relishes this new knowledge he holds that Wade does not. He likes being in on the secret with Mom and Dad. It gives him a sense of maturity and superiority.
“Wade isn’t very smart is he, because he believes in Santa?”
“David, you believed in Santa just a week ago. Did that make you dumb?”
“Well, I’m smarter now than I was then.”