I was cornered in the house the other day by M2 and N. Both looked at me very expectantly and asked me the question I knew at some point I would have to answer anyway.
“Mommy is there a Santa Claus?”
Now most parents I know field this question when the kids are 6 or 7. My kids being delayed, well I got it later for these two. They told me M1 had told them that I was Santa Claus and that he never really existed. Part of me wants to strangle M1 for giving half a story. I mean her whole goal was what ruin all the magic at the holidays….grrr…
I explained to the girls that Saint Nicholas did in fact exist at one point. He did in fact give gifts to children who left out their shoes with straw for the reindeer he traveled on. I explained the image they had of Santa came from Twas the Night Before Christmas, and that while Saint Nicholas did not look much like that, he was in fact real at one point (he died before Grandma was born after all). I then explained that Santa Claus as they knew him was not so much a person but rather something a little more complicated. I told them Santa Claus is the spirit of giving.
They got quiet for a moment and so I continued. I explained that every time during the holiday season, when you give something without expecting to get something in return you are in fact being Santa Claus. Both of them piped up and said “So when we gave our clothes to J (who runs a not for profit distributing clothes to the needy) we were being Santa?” I told them yes. M2 got all excited and said “So when we help you wrap presents for the house you buy for, we are being Santa then too?” I told them they had it exactly, when they did those things they did not expect to get anything back so yes in fact they were being Santa- the spirit of giving.
Both kids were super happy to know they could be Santa themselves. Yes I know it is unconventional but that is what I have told M1 for years so that will be the story I stick too.