Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One More Christmas to Believe

Two years ago, my wife and I were convinced it would be the last Christmas for our younger son to believe in Santa Claus. (Our older son had known for years. However, under penalty of lack of presents, he hadn’t spilled anything to his younger brother.)

We had an established pattern of activities for the big day. My younger son and I would begin Christmas Eve by following Santa on the NoradSanta website, tracking Santa through Asia. We played games, went to early church services, dinner (Chinese, since they’re open), and then I would read The Night Before Christmas to him. Then we would check the Norad Santa tracker again as proof of why he should go to bed. After he went to bed, my wife and I would wait about an hour, and then set out the presents.

The trickiest part was that we’d always set one present next to his bed. In his excitement, my younger son has always been a particularly light sleeper on Christmas Eve. Getting in and out of his room was always a challenge.

Then there was the Christmas Eve from two years ago. We kept up pretenses as best we could that Christmas, dodging questions as they arose. We got him off to bed and then waited an hour. I brought the gift upstairs.

Then he woke up and caught me.

He immediately headed back into his bedroom crying. I followed him in and asked him what was wrong. He said he’d seen me and knew that Santa Claus didn’t exist. Like any parent, I couldn’t give up yet and tried to lie my way out of it. “I was just moving the gift,” I told him. “Santa was in a hurry and left it at the bottom of the stairs and I was helping Santa out,” I added.

He didn’t believe me.

I told him I’d prove it to him. I knew my computer was still up, though I hadn’t looked at the Norad Tracker since my son had gone to bed an hour prior. I flipped to the website.

Per the Norad website, Santa was in “Atlanta, Georgia.”

I couldn’t believe it. The website updates around every five minutes or so with a new city, and I’d opened it up when it said Santa was in Atlanta. My son cheered up, convinced that Santa had just been there. He went back to bed, content as could be. After the next Christmas, his questions arose again and he eventually figured it out. But that was one more year of believing. One more year of dreaming.

One more year of childhood.

Did you have any close calls with your kids and what did you do?

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