santa has always been a key figure of christmas in our family. my parents always left the most wanted gift unwrapped, this one was from santa; and wrapped the rest from them.

I don’t remember when I learned about the fabrication of santa’s existence, nor do I recall the impetus for the realization, be it school mates, or age. I do remember, however, the fact that santa continued to dwell in our christmas celebrations.

the christmas of my 13th year, I asked for a doll house. I know that’s a little old, but my parents had just remarried the year before. this finally allowed me to be a child, instead of primary caregiver to my brother and mother, housekeeper, landlord lookout, etc.

so, around midnight on christmas eve, my mother woke me up to ask, “what do you know about santa?” well, what the heck is this?, I thought. being half asleep, I admitted that I knew he wasn’t real. her relief was visible. she explained to me that they had bought me a dollhouse, but that it required assembly. ALOT of assembly. they decided to leave something else from santa, but didn’t want me to be crushed that my heart’s desire wasn’t from santa.

we’ve continued this tradition with our children. now we only have one believer left, and I dread the day I have to admit the truth to him. (I have a friend who told her son that if he didn’t believe, he wouldn’t receive. it seems to work). neither rich’s family, nor mine was religious, so I don’t remember knowing much about the connection between Jesus and christmas until adulthood sometime. most likely, a christian friend told me.

our children have learned the truth of christmas, that it is the anniversary of Jesus’ birth, this has come from raising them in the church. however, santa continues to be a major part of christmas for us. he’s just so jolly, he inspires so many happy feelings.

jessica was in the 4th grade when she asked about santa. we both cried when we told her the truth. it was so sad, to know that she was growing up. with kris, we ended up telling him when he was in 7th grade; we felt we needed to in order to save him from a school yard beating.

tony has hinted around, but I haven’t taken the bait, so…the other day I boutght a plate and mug at hobby lobby that say ho ho ho all over. theya re for the cookies and milk for santa. maddie asked me if it was really rich and I who eat the cookies. I acted offended that she would even ask that.

on sunday the 16th of december, rich and I are taking tony and madison for a surprise ride on the polar express dinner train, out of bryson city. we’re both so excited, we can’t stand it. this might be the last christmas of innocence for one or both of them, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.