Here we are hurtling towards Christmas and Thanksgiving, though it was just last week, already feels a bit like a distant memory. The company has left, the leftovers have been eaten except for that one last bowl of turkey noodle soup, and Daniel keeps adding to his Christmas wish list like he thinks we're millionaires or something.
Apparently there has been some lively discussion amongst the second graders regarding whether or not Santa is real. Daniel told me that some of the kids in his math group think Santa exists, and some don't.
The kids who believe in Santa were quite insistent about it. One girl devised a test. She knows where the presents are in her house, and she intends to sneak into their hiding place and draw a little dot on every single one. If the dots are gone on Christmas morning when her presents appear, she says, it means Santa is real. If the dots are still there, he is not real. (Please do not ask me to explain the logic of this plan. There are some definite gaps.)
Daniel and Anya know that Santa isn't real. We've never told them otherwise. (Ditto the tooth fairy, for that matter.) I personally think it's mean to string a kid along on a fantasy and then later reveal that you knew the truth all along and kept him deliberately ignorant, but that's just me. I'm not judging. I don't think I ever believed Santa was real, or if I did, I must have found out the truth at such a young age I've forgotten. I am pretty sure I didn't enjoy the presents I opened at Christmas any less.
I also never once had my picture taken with Santa at the mall or what-have-you and I don't regret that for one tiny instant. I've never taken my kids to have their pictures taken with Santa either. I find that whole tradition rather creepy, actually. But again, that's just me. No judging here.
According to Daniel, the student teacher who spends a lot of time in the classroom was participating in this discussion and fell into the "Santa is real" camp. She's a grown woman, so obviously she knows better, but I suspect she didn't want to be the one responsible for shattering what is apparently a strongly held belief for some of these kids. I don't blame her. This whole Santa thing is between these kids and their parents…
...which is exactly why I told Daniel not to argue too much about Santa with his classmates. He has a tendency to be a little bit of a know-it-all to begin with (sad, but true), and I told him that even though Santa isn't a real person who flies around the world leaving presents for everyone, it's still fun to pretend. That's why, when I was a kid, we left a plate of cookies out on Christmas Eve for Santa's snack, even though we knew it was just my mom and dad who were going to eat those cookies and then put treats in our stockings. It was still really special.