Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tis the season of lying... I mean that in a good way!


‘A crazy time of year’, is what people are saying.  Yes, I do agree.  There is more on our plates right now as the Christmas season is upon us.  Not only the basics but the buying of presents, 

the decorating, 

the baking, 

the cooking, 

the perpetration of a lie.  

Oh yes, tis the season of lying.  We even created a brand new lie called 'Elf on the Shelf.'  Or as I like to think of it, ‘just one more thing I have to remember to do before I fall into bed at night.’  


When I do forget, which happens at least once a week, I then have to field the barrage of questions, first thing in the morning. 

“Why didn’t Chris move, Mommy?” (Chris Miss is our elf’s name.)  

“Does that mean that Santa does not know about the bad stuff we did yesterday?”  

“Will Chris tell him tonight, about yesterday or will he just forget about it?”  

The list of questions goes on and on and on, and usually before I've had my cup of coffee.  
So I start off every day of the Christmas season with a lie to my children.  My 8 year old knows, I think,  but he still wants to believe.  He keeps asking us if Santa is real, if there are really elves, if we have ever seen the real Santa, oh, and the other day he asked how old Santa is.  So we make up stories and try to sound convincing. 

All the while I feel like he is looking at me and thinking, 'what a bunch of bull.'  He is a pretty savvy kid, and I think he just likes to see me and my husband squirm.  It’s his own little form of entertainment.  This is the first year I feel bad about lying to him.  

On the other hand we have a 3 year old who is just starting to get the whole Santa thing.  He is so excited and full of wonder that the lie seems, well, good.  He has no questions about Santa or how he gets in, or how the reindeer fly.  He just knows because we told him.  

At that age all you need is those you love and trust - who shape your world and whom you idolize - lovingly look at you and tell you that on Christmas eve, a fat, white, hairy, man in a red suit, will break into our house and leave toys if you are good.  The 3 year old just hears “toys” and believes.  
When I was growing up and I started the serious questions about Santa, my dad let me in on a secret.  He sat me down and told me that he had some information that not everyone talked about, and he felt I was old enough to know.  

First off, he told me Santa was not that jolly, he was too busy to be jolly.  Nor was his hair and beard all white.  It 
was graying and closely cropped to his face, not all long, because it would just get in his way.  He was not overly fat, either, because he was extremely active.  He did not wear a red suit, but normal clothes that kept him warm in the night air. He was rather short, had an olive complexion and a large nose. (Ironically, that pretty much describes my dad...hmmmmm) He did not live at the North Pole, but he had a home there.  He had homes all over the world and lived wherever he wanted.  He was the most kind and giving man on the face of the earth. Oh, and he was Jewish.  

Yes, my father told me that Santa was Jewish, just like Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  He said that Santa liked the image of the jolly fat white haired man because he could get around much easier and live amongst everyone without being noticed.  He also told me that there were no elves but he had many helpers who were just regular people that he employed but they all signed a confidentiality clause and were sworn to secrecy.  

For some reason, all that made complete sense to me.  The only problem I had was trying to convince my friends of this.  They did not believe me.  

It was my father’s way of letting me in on a secret.  The secret that not everything you are told is always the truth, even if many, many people tell the same thing.  

I have not told my 8 year the Jewish Santa story yet, but I think it might be time. He may need to feel like he is “in on it” just to believe for a little longer.  
Lying to our children may just be keeping them young and wondering for a bit longer.  Lying about Santa is now a tradition passed down from generation to generation.  Some people are against it and I can kind of see why.  We do spend our time teaching our children that lying is wrong. I mean, how ironic is it that on the day we celebrate the birth of - who we believe to be - the Son of God, we are breaking a commandment of God’s?  How can we justify it?  I don’t know. 

But I do know I love the wonder in my little ones' eyes as we set up the tree.  

I love the hope and pure excitement that the season brings to them.  

I love how they painstakingly write their Christmas list to Santa and refuse to sit on his lap in the mall.  

I love how happy they are on Christmas morning when they realize that Santa showed up the night before.  

As a general rule lying is wrong, but for those of you who have children and continue to perpetrate this particular lie,  let me say Mazel Tov!