Saturday, December 01, 2007

Barry Claus

Today's visit with Santa Claus was certainly interesting--Logan wanted no part in waiting in line, nor sitting on the old man's lap (although he does want a certain mechanical train which he thinks Santa will bring). We watched as Santa was brought ashore Lake Anne on a barge--I was grateful that his whiskers were real, but his stuffing was awful--hanging down unnaturally low below his belt. He was sweet--had a genuine smile and a wonderful demeanor. Teagan took to him better than a family member--she reached out for him, sat on his lap & studied his face with her coy grin. He was charmed by her. Both children got a different flavored/colored candy cane, (even though Logan stood on the sidelines).



When Santa came in on the barge I said to Logan, "He's come all the way here just to see us! and he tiredly replied, "Whatever..." Oh, my! Has the mystery died already!? Another mother & I stood out in the cold, discussing the sadness of our children believing for such a fleeting time--and how guilty parents feel when their children realize they've been lied to.

But in our case I have tried not to lie to Logan--I have told him the true story of St. Nicholas--and stated that he really existed so many years ago, that he really gave away gifts to others, and that his life was a demonstration of Christian love & faith...then I have said that there are different traditions around the world, but that in America people call him Santa Claus...and believe that he still rides at night on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to children.

Logan has seen the movie Polar Express a few times, though--that pretty much seals the Santa/North Pole/Elves deal. I want him, once he realizes that version of Santa is a myth, to be pleased with the game of it--and to engage Teagan in the game as well, for as long as she believes--not to feel duped, but to feel loved for the whole thing. I'm not sure we'll get through this Christmas with him still believing at the end--he's only 4 1/2 but I can see his mind whirling around the concepts..and coming up doubting.

He asks me often, "But that really happened, right?" about different stories...and I do not want to lose his trust, so I tread cautiously with Santa. I mean, Santa is real because we perpetuate his story. He is real because there are gifts under trees all over the world that claim him as giver. He is alive in the spirit of Christmas, although not living. Jesus, on the other hand, is both alive in a spiritual way in people's hearts, but also living because he rose from the grave and conquered death. There is a distinct difference...subtle to a child...perhaps too subtle. I know many parents just choose not to celebrate Christmas with the living Santa myth, but I have many wonderful memories of those early innocent Christmases, and did not want to rob my children of an American Christmas, even as we celebrate a decidedly Christian (read, original/authentic) Christmas.

We read our first Advent devotional tonight & put up the tree and tree lights. The kids had a cup of tea before bed. It's beginning to feel Christmasy, so I need to start working on our few crafty things, and neighborhood baking projects.

Oh--and funny note--after the 2-hour Santa line was over (we were stragglers just before the end), the old man ran across the plaza rather urgently. Seems sitting in the cold, alongside a large body of water, with one child after another climbing into his lap got the best of the man! He couldn't locate the correct door right away so his helpers from today's event called out to him, "Barry, it's to the right...Barry! Over there, the right!"

So, our Santa's name is Barry. I don't know if Logan heard that or not, but if he did, his sharp mind will put those pieces together as quickly as I can pop together his preschooler puzzles.

Happy Advent One, Barry, Santa, and y'all.

2 comments:

Jenni said...

Great post - hilarious story about Santa Barry -

My husband and I were talking about Santa (we do Santa) a couple of nights ago and he brought up the same thing - we don't want our kids to doubt Jesus when they realize that Santa is not "real". I enjoyed your insight into Santa being a spirit of Christmas and a game but Jesus is living - a great explanation that I think kids could begin to understand. It was a little bit of a struggle for us when we decided if we should "do" Santa but I also have fond memories of Santa and never felt misled or lied to.
Thanks - enjoyed looking at your bog

ModMomMuse said...

Jenni,

Thank you for dropping by & thank you for your comments. ;-D

~Lisandrea