For most parents, one of life’s saddest moments is when their child discovers the truth about Santa Claus.
I will never forget an incident that occurred several years ago at a company Christmas party. It was a very festive event for employees and their children. A visit from Santa Claus was the highlight of the afternoon. Each child got to sit on Santa’s lap, share their special wish and walk away with a small gift bag filled with candy and other goodies.
At one particular party, a coworker walked in with his wife and little girl who was crying. These parents looked devastated. When I asked what was wrong, the dad said, “She just learned that there is no such person as Santa Claus.” Upon hearing that, my heart was broken, too.
A couple of years later, my husband and I moved heaven and earth to make sure our sons remained believers for as long as possible. Even during times when we couldn’t really afford their special Christmas gift wish, we agreed to go without so they would not be disappointed and know that Santa was real.
When our youngest son was about eight years old, he and his brother asked Santa for bowling balls. Earlier in the year, I had enrolled them in a children’s bowling league and these balls were of critical importance to them. We bought the balls. Being the snoopy one of the two, our little boy found the boxes the bowling balls came in, which had been stashed under the basement stairs until trash day. We, of course, told him that in order to have the space in his sleigh for all his worldwide Christmas deliveries, Santa had to lighten his load as much as possible and counted on parents to help dispose of the excess packaging.
He bought it, we thought. But to be sure, we wet the soles of his dad’s big work boots, covered the soles with glitter and walked them from the Christmas tree to the front door. Success! Our son was sufficiently convinced Santa came to visit overnight. But the next Christmas, he told us that he knew it wasn’t true, and that we didn’t have to go to extremes anymore. I’m not going to lie – we were disappointed. I’m not sure how he knew, especially since we told the older boys that if they spilled the beans, they would learn the truth quickly when they found nothing under the tree for them. Their lips were sealed.
Our youngest son is 31 now. It still stings a bit when he jokes about the “bowling ball incident,” but he knows that “Santa” is really the parents who love their kids more than anything. And he has grown up to be a loving, generous man who will help people any way he can and make them happy.
So, yes – there is indeed a Santa Claus. Merry Christmas to all … and don’t forget the milk and cookies!