Monday, December 14, 2009

No, Christopher, there isn’t a Santa Claus

On Dec. 4, as we headed to see Santa Claus arrive in downtown New Canaan, Conn., for the town’s annual Holiday Stroll my 6-year-old son Christopher said, out of the blue, “I don’t really believe in Santa Claus.”
His statement caught me by surprise.
“Why not?” I asked.
The first grader then said, “I’ve seen pictures of the north pole. No one can live there.”
I asked him if kids had been talking about Santa at school and he said no.
At a parent-teacher meeting a few days later, I told his teacher about this and she was taken aback. Normally kids stop believing in Santa in the second grade, she said.
Christopher told his teacher that he wanted to be a scientist.
Well, my little man of science figured out the truth about Santa on his own.
In hindsight, I do remember him asking the typical kid questions about how Santa can stop at every house in one night and why Santa delivers the same toys you can buy in stores. True, the gifts do say “Made in China” not “Made by elves at the North Pole.”
Flying reindeer also didn’t pass muster with my little nature buff. Then there are all the fake mall Santas around.
The science didn’t add up.
At the meet-Santa event, Chris asked me point blank if I believed in Santa Claus. I balked and said, “I do if you do.”
The truth is, I don’t want to lie to my son about anything. When our cat died, I didn’t say she went to live on a farm in the country. When he asked me what B.S. meant, I told him what it was short for, but that the second of the two words was considered dirty.
So I probably should have been more forthcoming about Santa. But I think he got the idea.

Apologies for the gratuitous photo of a young Jenny McCarthy and a very lucky Santa Claus from the December 1996 issue of Playboy. At least I censored the photo.

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