Sweetie is at the age where he asks if everything is "real" or "fake" so of course he has been asking about Santa Claus. Luckily, he is in a year-round school, and he is "off track" from just before Thanksgiving until after the first of the year, so I am not battling all of his killjoy peers and their nasty little tales of parental lies and deception. And, as I have mentioned before, he totally believes in magic.
So we've been counting down the days to Christmas Eve with our advent calendar. We've been talking about the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus (prompted by a nativity scene in a neighbor's yard). He has asked for, and I have shared, stories of Christmases when I was a little girl. He was horrified by the trick my father played on me when I was 8; he led me to believe that my Big Wheel didn't come with all of its pieces, and you can't make returns to Santa, so I was just out of luck. He loved the story about the Christmas when I received two live finches ... I kept hearing this "peep peep" sound while we were opening presents but never noticed the cage. He didn't know Santa could bring you pets!! He was intrigued by my older sister's claim that she got out of bed one year because she heard something; the presents were under the tree and she saw Santa's boot as it disappeared out our front door. (She is nearly 50, and SWEARS to this day that she saw Santa's boot walking out our door.) We talked a little about Santa, but not as much as you would think considering all of his questions about everything else.
Out of Sweetie's mouth, here's the skinny on Santa: He was a real person, a long time ago, but new guys become Santa when the current Santa gets too old, and it just keeps going from new guy to new guy so we always have a Santa. (Hhhmmm ... has someone been watching The Santa Clause?) Santa doesn't live at the North Pole all the time - only when he is getting ready for Christmas - but the elves live there all the time; that's why they have those funny ears. He isn't sure where Santa lives, but it has to be someplace warmer than the North Pole. Santa is magic; he makes his reindeer fly, he makes his sleigh fly, he can magically make chimneys big enough for him to climb down and up, he has a magic key that opens doors to homes that do not have fireplaces, and he has that magic bag ... it's kind of like Mary Poppins' bag; it looks really small, but it can hold every single toy that every child in the world has put on his or her wish list. Oh, and Santa can stop time ... duh, how else could he get around the entire world in one night? The magic kind of "freaks [him] out" - that's why he doesn't want to go see Santa and get close to him. And by the way, even though those Santas in malls are not real - Santa hires guys to pretend to be him because he is too busy at work - maybe those mall guys have some kind of magic, too. He isn't sure, but he doesn't want to risk it. Santa doesn't make toys; his elves buy them at stores. Rudolph, though a real and magic reindeer, does not have a red nose that lights up. Rudolph's nose is red, but it's red like the one Dale has from Disney's Chip N' Dale. Rudolph wears a red flashlight on his halter!!
After we toured our neighborhood to look at lights, baked fresh cookies, sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn (oatmeal with glitter, so the reindeer can see the sparkles from the sky and know there are kids here), and got dressed in our Christmas pajamas, I heard him talking to his very best friend "Puppy" - a polka-dotted stuffed dog he has had for more than 5 years - and telling him "he's coming, he's coming, we have to go to sleep."
In years past, we have written letters to Santa, and received letters from Santa and/or Mrs. Claus, but this year he simply was not interested. Instead, he chose to tell his wish list to one of his worry dolls. He is 100% confident that his worry doll will take care of things for him, and he will get that one thing he really really wants. The problem? Because he didn't write it down anywhere, I am not 100% certain what he "really really" wants. I had to make an educated guess.
I just heard a clatter outside, and when I went to check it out, I noticed my Christmas tree has a ton of presents under it that weren't there before. And according to http://www.noradsanta.org/, Santa was in my area while I've been sitting here writing this blog. Though I believe in the spirit of Santa, I have always thought I was perpetuating a myth. Maybe I've been wrong; maybe my son is salvaging the story for me. Christmas just isn't the same if you don't have Santa in your life.