Before the grandkids came along, there was a decided absence of Santa Claus in our home. We still did stockings for everybody, and everybody got goodies and candies and small gifts in them. But Santa? Nah. The girls were just too old for that.
For a lot of years.
Youngest is to blame. She outgrew Santa before second grade. She came home one day after school, in late fall, and pronounced loudly her disbelief, her certainty, in fact, that the whole thing was a sham, and she proclaimed rather energetically that we might as well just save our money because she just knew better.
I think it upset her on future Christmases when she discovered we’d taken her advice and saved some money. No more Santa stuff in addition to our stuff. We still did the stockings, but Santa, by and large, was out.
It hurt us some, too. She was the last. We missed out on the secrecy and surprise, the magic and the wonder that should have lasted just a little while longer. Santa does bring with him an element of childhood awe that parents love to promulgate.
I insisted until I was nearly twelve that Santa existed. No amount of teasing dissuaded me. And then finally, on Christmas Eve, I just had to know. I asked. I was answered. And then I started bawling.
I was inconsolable.
“I guess this means there’s no Easter Bunny, either!”
I know, there are arguments both for and against the idea of Santa, et al. I don’t want to argue, I just want them back.
Oldest, at ten years Sister’s senior, has yet to even ask about Santa. Ever. We have never had that conversation with her. No tears, no upsetting explanations, no questions, no teasing us for trying to trick her. Nothing.
She’s twenty-six now.
Maybe she still doesn’t know.
Or maybe she furtively figured out what her sister naively didn’t: Don’t say anything and you might get more.
Whatever the reason, we kept playing along with her until Youngest stopped us cold. Oldest was a senior in high school at that point.
If she didn’t already know, I’ve let the cat out of the bag. She subscribes to my blog and, well, I’ve just spilled it, haven’t I?
But regardless of how long, or even at what age, Oldest stopped believing in Santa, I’ll never forget the stocking we won that was bigger than she was and filled with more toys than her seven-year-old self could ever use.
Our local grocer had purchased one that he was raffling off to his customers. Every purchase for the first two weeks in December earned a ticket. One of our tickets won the prize.
Her dad and I had sneaked it into the house and then under our bed. The bed wasn’t large enough to hide it, so we had to put stuff around the bed for camouflage. On Christmas morning she found that stocking nearly taking up the whole living room floor.
She didn’t pick it up and dump it out, though. No, she crawled inside it throwing things behind her as she went in, nearly getting tangled up in the mesh from which it was constructed.
I would love to see the faces of my grandchildren if presented with such a treat. I wonder if I could ever find one just like that one of so many years ago. If so, I wonder if I could find one before Christmas this year.
Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve, so probably not.
If I still believed in Santa, I’d know just who to ask.