I used to be a very talented liar. But I gave it up. When I was an IT headhunter in NYC back in the day, my old boss used to say, “Always tell the truth, there’s less to remember.” Ironically, he later went to prison for fraud. But I’ve always remembered what he said because he was absolutely right. It’s a helluva lot easier to be honest. And so now for a very long time, I’ve been the most honest guy I know.
Tonight, our oldest daughter left a long note for Santa. In it are requests of proof that he exists. It’s not enough that he leaves presents, because anyone can write, ‘from the big guy’ on a sticker. And she’s right. So we talked about how you’ve got to believe in some things that you can’t see. Ever. Like God. And love. And electricity. And she seemed ok with it. For now.
But it’s all going to come crashing down at some point. And when it does, I fear she’s going to blame us for deceiving her. Especially me. Because it feels like the older she gets, the more elaborately I have to spin this tale. It feels like I’m regressing back into a really good liar each Christmas.
I knew this would happen. I told my wife this would happen when we had our first Christmas with our daughter. I didn’t want to do Santa at all. Not just because of the lie, but because of the gluttony thing too. But my wife insisted, and it’s actually been pretty fun. Except for the part about knowing that the day would come when I’d have to look my little girl in the eyes and tell her the truth. After years and years of deceit. She’ll cry. And she’ll be right to. Not because Santa’s not real, but because her Daddy, the man she loves and trusts most in the world, lied to her. She’ll get over it eventually, but not before major damage is done. If I can lie that well about something like this, God knows what else I must be lying about – right? At least, that’s the way I remember feeling when my mother told me the truth. And if you’re like my mom, you’ll say that Santa’s not really a lie and that the spirit of Santa Claus lives in your heart. And maybe it does, but the idea of a guy flying around the world at light speed is still a lie. The spirit of giving, sure – that’s real. Santa, not so much.
So tonight I have to figure out what to say as I forge Santa’s responses to her questionnaire. And it breaks my heart.
Thanks for reading my words and letting me share. Merry Christmas.
5 CommentsLEAVE A COMMENT
Dec 25, 2010
Im becoming your blog stalker sheesh!This is another great post for discussion. One of my best friends is Jewish who married a Catholic gal. They have their 3 kids believing in both hanukah and santa. His ldest is 9 middle boy 6 and youngest 2, He told me Lauren is now skeptic on Santa. And the minute she fully decides he is not real she is going to corrupt Zachary and out the fake Santa, I think the question is does this affect trust? Can children understand that Santa and the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny make their younger years more fun. Can they understand at a young age and say thank you? I mean Santa and reindeer don’t exist in bethlehem. They never have never will. So to me its a symptom of a bigger problem.Today I learned in Sweden they don’t celebrate Christmas. But they celebrate Yule. And they eat Reindeer on Yule! Go figure.
Dec 25, 2010
Yeah, I saw @dabitch tweet about eating reindeer on christmas. i don’t know how i feel about that. i mean, any other day, sure. Thanks for the comment Howie. Peace, love, and all that.
Dec 25, 2010
Jim,I don’t think your daughter will be as upset as you think about the deception. I’m Jewish so my parents did not get me there but they did for the tooth fairy. I was a sucker for the tooth fairy for quite a long time, my parents would always do something cool with notes and such, but I knew the tooth fairy was not real before I had lost all of my teeth. But even when I knew the tooth fairy wasn’t real I continued to write notes with my lost teeth because I thought that would be important to my parents. They had put so much time and effort into the charade it didn’t matter to me if the story was real or not, I didn’t want to disappoint my parents by telling them to give it up. (That mixed with the enjoyment of getting two dollar bills-which I may or may not still have). I’m 21 now but I still remember that part of my childhood really well.When it comes down to it I think your kids will probably feel the same way about Santa and Christmas. It will be a mutual understanding of the effort that you put into the spirit of Christmas.Your kid is just as worried about deflating your reality as you are her’s. At least that’s the way I see it. Have a very merry Christmas.
Dec 25, 2010
Jeff, thanks for the words. My wife just said the same thing – that they’ll be ok with it b/c of the effort. Which is totally whack in my brain. “Oh! Really? Wow, you really kicked ass in fooling me. Awesome. Great lie, Dad!” I dramatize. It’s a tragic flaw.
Dec 28, 2010
JimYou have once again so gracefully and exactly said what I have been thinking. My son is 5 and already he is questioning this whole Santa thing. How does Santa get to fly in the sky but we have to go inside an airplane? Hmh. How come there are so many toys at the store but yet Santa brings them from the North Pole? Now this is coming from someone who truly believes and says he sees that there is a man living on the moon. So his thought process of what can be real and what cannot be is a bit confused. As a single parent my son and I have a very special bond as we not only spend a lot of time together, we do a lot of things together. He trusts me, he looks to me to learn new things and recall old things. I do not think that he will be that disappointed when he does find out so long as there are gifts under the tree but will probably feel the way that I did – oh man how did I really believe reindeer could fly and that one man could get all kids gifts. Great read as always. Happy New Year to you and the entire Mitchem gang. We know 2011 is going to be an incredible year for you and happy am I to be going on this ride with you.
My novel – Minor King
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