1. So we wrote a letter to Santa. I wanted Eli to write it but after spending 45 minutes fighting with him over Kindergarten homework, neither one of us had it in us, so he dictated and I wrote. .
2. You will note that this letter begins with “I want” because even though I have corrected this child to “May I please have” over seventy million times since he first began to speak, it has had no noticeable effect.
3. The Letter:
Yes, he did ask for 6 red bell peppers and some hand sanitizer, because those are his favorite things. I know.
4. Yes, we do Santa. Big liars who love stuff, remember?
5. Although the truth is that although I can certainly ramble on at length about this subject (and I will, lucky you!), for me, Santa is sort of like…let’s say, cloth napkins. There are lots of good reasons to use cloth napkins, but we pretty much just use cloth napkins because that’s what I did as a kid. In fact I mostly had no idea there were other options until quite recently, in the grand scheme of things. And cloth napkins do align nicely with my personal and ethical and moral beliefs, but it’s just what I’ve always done. I don’t even really think about it that much. I just do it because it’s what I know. And while I do find it a little confusing when people use paper napkins because the superiority of cloth napkins seem pretty obvious to me, I’m not, like throwing darts at a picture of your face in my spare time if I you use paper napkins. You do your thing, I’ll do mine. That’s really how I feel about Santa.
6. Especially because if I had a general philosophy about parenting, besides “I hope desperately that my children are happy”, it would be “Let’s not over think this thing, now.” Mr. E practically has this tattooed across his (manly) back muscles Sons of Anarchy style, so we’re on the same page there. Parenting gives you so many opportunities to overdo it. You can take every single decision as far as you possible can. If you really want to you can buy organic milk from french cows left to roam on the hillside next to a meandering stream while someone reads them empowering tracts on cow feelings. I just never want to be that parent announcing nervously to all the other parents at my kids fifth birthday party: “HE’S NEVER HAD SUGAR BEFORE!” I mean, YOU go for it, but that’s not my jam, you know? I want to swing towards the “oh, screw it” side of life, not the “MY CHILDREN DON’T EAT THAT!!!!!!” side of life.
7. But really, I just don’t want to make a big deal out of things.
8. Also, I remain totally unconcerned about lying to my kids. First of all, on the scale of childhood trauma, finding out that Santa wasn’t real barely registers on mine. My father drank out of open containers while driving us around. In the car. We had bigger problems than Santa. Secondly, right after “Be Happy” my goal for my children is for them to be able to think for themselves. Sometimes this can be scary, because it means that you are giving your children the freedom to disagree with you someday, but that price is worth it to me. Do I agree with everything my parents say? God no. Do I believe everything they tell me? God no. I am intelligent human being and one of the things I value most about my life is that I get to believe what I want. But Mr. Rogers has since passed on and so I think I can honestly say that there’s pretty much no one alive today who I don’t think is sometimes full of shit. So yes, sometimes I lie to my kids, and they’re going to be ok. And I hope they grow up questioning much of what the world tells them and making up their own minds about things just like I did, because believe me, a person who parroted back everything my father believes and told me about life is a very different person than the one I am today. That person is horrible person with screwed up ideas about life, fyi. So no, I don’t expect my children to believe everything I tell them, because I don’t expect them to believe everything that anyone tells them, myself included. That’s way more important to me than never lying to them. I want to raise questioners, not believers.
(But we aren’t doing Santa so my kids know that sometimes we’re full of shit, it’s not anywhere near that calculated. I just think of this when people say “we don’t do Santa because we never want to lie to our kids” and I can’t help but think that the definition of truth becomes awfully fluid and I want my children to question even the things that other people believe are absolutes.)
9. It doesn’t really matter anyway, because this weekend, at Home Depot, where all the best man talks take place, Eli said, to Erik: “Dad, is Santa real? Because I don’t know, but sometimes this Santa stuff just seems awfully pretend.” !!!!! For the love of Pete, man. Children.
10. Did I say there were 14 points? I may have overestimated my ability to ramble.
11. Tonight we are leaving our shoes out for St. Nicholas. Eli has also expressed doubt that “someone who has been dead for a really long time is going to come leave us presents and candy”.
So I might not actually be that good at this Santa thing, it turns out.
12. But please. None of this means that I think you are a bad person for not wanting to lie to your kids, or for not doing Santa or wanting to raise believers. I don’t want that, but I don’t care that you do. Paper napkins, remember? I am surprised that you use them, but I don’t care. At all.
13. We do not have that horrifying Elf on the Shelf. None of that business around here, please.
14. What I really want for Christmas is for Katie Dubs to go to bed at 7 PM instead of 10PM so I can go back to watching Homeland obsessively. Dear god I wish Santa was bringing me that.
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