I grew up believing in Santa, so my sister and I, like most kids, would spend the last three months of the year on our best behavior in preparation for making our Christmas wish-list come true.
My favorite Santa memory is about the year I almost figured out he wasn’t real. Almost.
My spider senses had been tingling that year, almost like I knew he wasn’t real but didn’t want to believe it. Denial. My younger sister was 100% still in belief, I wasn’t totally sure, so until I did my homework I didn’t want to ruin it for her.
Being a single, working mother, my mom went to great lengths to ensure Santa stayed alive in our house. She had co-workers write the gift tags up, did all the wrapping at work and used different paper. She even use to sneak out of the house on Christmas eve and make sure she removed the carrot my sister would leave for the reindeer off the front lawn. She was a tricky one to catch. I was determined to blow her cover though.
That Christmas morning, super early- like 3am- I woke up after ‘Santa’ had left. I very carefully took all my presents into my room and very carefully opened each and every one. I thought I was being smart even lining up the tape marks on the wrapping paper. After carefully placing the gifts back under the tree, and confirming that Santa had no way of knowing I wanted the Troll doll he had wrapped and placed under my tree, I went to bed satisfied with my investigative results and off to dream about how I was going to break the news to my sister in a few hours.
My sister and I had a routine. Wake up. Breakfast with mom- huge Christmas morning breakfast..Yummm. Stockings. Walt Disney World parade on TV. Gifts.
My sister and I were in our positions’ on the floor while mom handed the gifts out. I was about to make a speech to my sister when my mom handed me my first gift, little did she know I already knew what it was. I took the Troll doll box and started to open it when I noticed the gift tag-something I couldn’t read in the dim light of my bedroom just hours before. It read:
Catherine, your Mom knew how much you wanted a Troll doll and wanted to make sure you got one, so she mailed me a letter to make sure you didn’t forget it on your Wish List since you’ve been such a busy girl. You’ve been a great girl this year and deserve it. Love Santa.
Well that little tag pretty much killed my entire Sherlock Holmes investigative tactic. Santa DID know I wanted it! Mom told him for me! Santa was real and Christmas morning was magical again.
Even in reading the tag, deep down I think I knew Santa wasn’t ‘real’. I knew mom had figured out what I did with my presents earlier that morning and placed the tag on the gift when she made the realization why I stressed the stupid doll so much to her. She was smarter than me. Even at the young age of 9, I also knew in that instance that she really wanted to hold onto our childhood one year longer. Mom knew my sister would believe anything I told her, and did everything she could to make sure she stopped it before I had a chance to say anything. Good on ya mom. Mission accomplished.
In today’s world of technology there is VERY little left to the imagination, I plan on doing my best to keep some mystery in my kiddo’s life and look forward to her challenging me. Bring it kid.
Merry Christmas Eve!!