I was not prepared for the very matter-of-fact conversation I just had with my six-year-old Aaron. It was a rare moment of just me and him in the car. It went a little something like this:
A: Mommy, tell me the truth, is Santa Claus real or do you and daddy just put out the gifts on Christmas morning?
Me: Why don't we wait to get home and see what Daddy thinks? trying to change subject multiple times...
A: No, I really want to hear the whole truth right now. I have been curious ever since I could walk & talk and have been wanting to ask you for years now. I am more curious than most other 6-year-old, you know. (yes, we know.)
Me: What do you think? What if the answer isn't has fun as believing in Santa?
A: I want the truth. You said I can always ask you anything and you will tell me the truth.
Me: (Pulling over to the side of the road at this point). Okay, yes it is mommy & daddy that put out your presents. Santa is just a fun, make-believe thing at Christmas.
Aaron: I thought so! I have been thinking that well, ever since, well I was 3 and 4 and 5 years old! I just never wanted to ask you, but well a girl at school told another girl at school back at Christmas time that it was the parents that did the gifts so I have been DOUBLE curious since then.
Me: You okay? It was fun to play along wasn't it?
Aaron: Yeah, well if you & daddy buy the gifts why didn't you get me that Kung Fu Panda collection I asked for at Christmas?
Sheesh! This was followed by a big discussion on money, time, element of surprise, etc. Also, insert big speech on not ruining the Christmas fairytale for younger siblings or friends here as well. Aaron seemed quite proud of himself to know the truth. And well, me and Scott feel like our little boy is just vanishing before our eyes. It just seems way too young for this magical part of his childhood to be over. He is already asking if he can help us set out the gifts this next Christmas. We know, as does Aaron, that Santa is by no means the reason we celebrate Christmas or even give gifts - we always talk about how Jesus was the very best Christmas gift ever. But we were not quite ready to have such a grown up conversation with our curious little boy either. We know he will take his role of keeping the Santa secret safe quite seriously and have no worries about him spilling the beans to Caleb. Nor if he did, do we have any worries of Caleb actually believing him. Nor does it really matter that strongly to us that our kids "believe" in Santa. We want them to believe in the Giver of all good gifts - that Jesus Christ is The Way, THE TRUTH and The Life. And that is where my conversation with Aaron ended, he blessed my soul and said "Well, at least I KNOW Jesus is NOT a fairytale!" And that is most certainly the truth.