Sunday, December 5, 2010

Do You Believe?

            I have loved Christmas since I could wear little velvet dresses and black patent leather Mary Janes. I’m one of those annoyingly “in the spirit” people who start humming Christmas carols on black Friday and by Cyber Monday I’m singing them at the top of my lungs. Having kids makes Christmas even more fun. I have a new appreciation for what I once considered “tacky” Christmas decorations. The kids see the lights in our neighborhood and I see their faces light up and I forget all about what is  “tacky”.
            My boys are still young enough to believe in the Santa—although the older boy’s resolve is slipping. This year Owen asked permission to set up a video camera in the living room to find out for sure (he actually used the term surveilance). He’s eight, so I suppose the age is right for him to question Santa’s existence. I just wish he wouldn’t do it in front of his six-year-old brother!
            Fortunately there are few things in this world as unshakable as the convictions of a six-year-old at Christmas time. Whenever Owen ponders the possible non-existence of Santa, James responds with, “Well who do you think brings all the toys? Plus he eats the cookies we put out. Duh!”  You would think the fact that I don’t say, “James, please don’t say ‘duh’" like I normally do, would be a dead give away.
            I thought for sure the jig was up two years ago. It was a couple of hours after all the gifts were unwrapped and the boys were enthralled with their new stuff when my husband Dan asked, “Did we forget to put something out?” I too had the same nagging feeling. I checked the basement and sure enough there was a fairly substantial present for each child down there—one of the few that they specifically asked for.
            Since the boys were content with what they had I considered just putting them aside for their birthdays. But I knew that by July I would forget about them all over again. So Dan and I came up with a plan.
            The gifts were on the coffee table in the living room when the boys got up the next morning. The wrapping had gotten a little banged up and torn—that’s what happens when things fall out of Santa’s sleigh.
            “What are these?” Owen asked when he saw the presents.
            “I found them in the back yard when I went to put the trash out last night,” Dan said nonchalantly (how he did that with a straight face I’ll never know!). “They must have fallen out of Santa’s bag.”
            There was this look of near religious ecstasy on Owen’s face as he said, “He IS real!”
            Like every parent on the planet I screwed up. This time my screw up amidst a thousand Christmas details ensured another year or two of belief in Santa for my little boy. That’s my idea of a Christmas miracle.