Christmas was always a great big, happy occasion for my daughter Clarice and me. There was always a special doll she requested from Santa, one she'd seen advertised endlessly on Saturday morning cartoons. One of the most memorable was Tubsy, who came with her own pink, plastic bathtub. My daughter was thrilled. Tubsy was always extremely clean.
Tubsy receiving one of her very many baths.
On Christmas Eve, I'd lay out her gifts as if Santa had left them. I ate the cookies and poured out the milk we had intended for him. Sometimes I felt guilty for perpetuating the ruse, but what is a mother to do. Finally, the questions did come, "How does Santa get around the whole world in one night?" "How can reindeer fly?" One day, she looked me straight in the eye and asked if Santa was real. Some children at school had said he was not.
In the face of such directness, I hesitantly told her the truth as gently as I could. She cried. I felt awful because I knew some of the mystery and excitement of Christmas was gone for her forever. As an adult, however, she has made a big deal out of Christmas for her own children, and all of us still enjoy the excitement and mystery. We love the fantasies of the holiday perpetuated by the media: Santa, elves, talking snowmen, flying reindeer and the odd lights and pretend snow of Florida outdoor decorations.
Clarice looks over the treasures brought by Santa. There's
Tubsy, an Easy Bake oven, dishes, and books.
I don't think learning the truth about Santa harmed her. She was one of the last in her school class to know. It was a truth that had to be told.