Perpetuating the myth of Santa Claus in my house is complicated.
Dylan is The Believer. The boy who was once afraid of everything is totally cool with Santa. He’s also wise enough not to question a process that ends with new toys. On Christmas morning, Dylan was positively giddy about the presents that magically appeared under the Christmas tree. He said things like, “Did Santa talk to all the moms in all the states?” and “How did Santa know the drums were in the garage?” (Daddy bought an electric drum set for Daddy, err, I mean, Dylan and Riley for Christmas.)
Riley, on the other hand, is The Skeptic. He hammered me with demands and questions. “I want to see Santa’s sleigh.” Sorry, buddy, that’s not gonna happen. “Can we go to Santa’s house?” Um, he’s not home right now. “When is Santa coming here?” After you go to (bleeping!) sleep. “How is he going to get in the house if we don’t have a chimney?” Cabana door, perhaps? “Is he going to come in my room?” Dear God. I hope not.
Seriously, how does Santa not frighten children? Riley single-handedly caused me to wonder how a stranger – albeit and jolly one – could enter the house in the middle of the night and not cause harm or make off with our iPads. Actually, on Christmas morning our garage looked a lot more like we’d been robbed than graced by Santa’s presence.
The most complicated part of the Santa equation in my house is…me. The Jew. I understand the concept of instilling joy, wonder, and a sense of belief in innocent children, but the Santa magic doesn’t come naturally for me. You see, Santa didn’t come to my house, and Hanukkah Harry didn’t give me Hanukkah presents. My parents did. Doesn’t everyone know that?
When Dylan and Riley were younger, I would wrap and put presents under the Christmas tree as I bought them. It seemed like a logical and organized way to manage the holiday until one day Mike tactfully explained to me that presents had to be hidden until the kids went to sleep on Christmas Eve so they would think Santa delivered them. And so began my “Christmas for Dummies” journey to embrace the enchantment of Santa Claus.
I’m trying. I really am. A few days before Christmas, Dylan asked me. “Where’s Daddy?” I said, “At Best Buy buying Christmas presents.” Oops. His response was, “Why is Daddy shopping? Doesn’t Santa bring our presents?” Crap. “Santa sent Daddy a text message that he needed some help. Santa’s very busy, you know.” Not bad. At bedtime on Christmas Eve, during Riley’s CSI-style interrogation, he asked, “How will Santa do it?” Maybe he’ll break a window or pick a lock. I had no clue. In fact, it occurred to me that we should set the alarm. In the end, I went with, “Pixie dust.”
Even Dylan saw his Jewish Mama struggling. On Christmas morning, Riley asked, “Did Santa bring me a big train?” Then, “Did Santa bring me an airplane?” “Santa” bought neither, but before I could respond, The Believer said, “Santa brings you what you want.” Indeed.
Thankfully, after all the presents were opened, the Santa talk subsided, except for The Skeptic. “Where is Santa now?” St. Barts? “What is he doing?” Having a stiff drink. “Can we go to his house?” Sigh.
Two days after Christmas, I took the boys to see “Rise of the Guardians.” It was a great movie full of wonder, fantasy, and faith, and it definitely helped me, The Jew, rethink my Santa cynicism. (Thank you, DreamWorks.) When the movie was over, The Believer said, “That was the best movie ever!” and The Skeptic asked, “Mommy, why did Santa have weapons?” Oy. It’s true that Santa wielded two very long and sharp swords throughout most of the movie. He was also huge and sported a lot of ink. All I could do was laugh.
Luckily, there’s one mythical character I can really wrap my arms around…the Tooth Fairy. This is great news because GUESS WHAT?! Dylan has a loose tooth! His first one! I honestly don’t know who’s more excited. Dylan’s wiggling his tooth non-stop, and I’m shopping online for Batman tooth pillows. I can’t wait for the night when The Believer puts his first tooth under his pillow and falls asleep with a flashlight by his side just in case he wakes up to catch a glimpse of the magic.