I took the younger three to the library this past Sunday where they were having a "Santa's Workshop" event. It was a spur of the moment trip when I saw the library share on Facebook that Santa would be there until the late afternoon; next year I will plan ahead so that we can do more of the crafts and enjoy the snacks instead of just seeing Santa. We got some cute and free pics, though.
Now, some of you who know us in real life may remember that years ago when our oldest was small, we were strongly opposed to Santa. He did not ever visit Santa, no presents were ever labeled "from Santa" and when he was a preschooler I'm pretty sure we straight out told him, "Santa isn't real." Both of us were opposed to lying to the kids, and neither of us had ever believed in Santa ourselves and felt that it was important in any way. I admit as a kid feeling disdain for those kids who DID believe, but I was prone to feelings of superiority in general.
We still believe in much of that and don't do a lot of things intended to encourage a belief in Santa, but we're much more accepting of his place in Christmas. What changed? The first thing that really made me think was when we took the boys to see the Wiggles several years ago. We got fake flowers to give to Dorothy, we made a cardboard bone to give to Wags, and I realized that I would never tell the kids "Dorothy isn't real," or anything similar about any other television character. I would assume that they'd figure it out as they grew up. I started to loosen up then, but what really changed things was a surprised Santa visit at a church function when Roger was about four. The look on his face really was just magical.
Mostly, though, we've just realized that we don't have to treat everything so very seriously. Not everything is a big deal. Things aren't perfect and they don't have to be done perfectly right. You can just relax and have fun without considering further implications for everything. Yeah, we grew up a bit.
So, for our younger kids Santa has been treated just like any other magical character. No presents are labeled "from Santa," but they appear under the tree in unique paper. The kids can visit Santa if they want, just like they got to meet Dorothy and Wags and all the Wiggly Dancers. Roger gently grew out of a belief in Santa, and for the older boys Santa is just a fun game. I'm not sure what Rosie thinks. I do feel bad, though, that Pauly did have that brief and transient belief in the magic. . .