Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Santa Letter

A little less than decade ago I became a parent. Not too long afterward her first Christmas rolled around, so I hung up a little stocking and put a little gift from Santa under the tree because that's what you do when you have a kid. (No matter if she couldn't even eat solid food at the time. Santa Claus was coming to town, by golly!) I literally never thought about anything less in my life before acting. I just did it.
Then repeated it the next year, even though I could have easily passed and it wouldn't have hurt any feelings. But when I did a third time, it sealed the deal for me and all my future babies, and I was now stuck being a jolly red elf each and every December. Ho Ho Ho.

(Now, this is not a blog to discuss whether or not I think you should do Santa Claus for your kids. I just need you to know that I repeatedly do things without thinking about the aftermath.)

So now knowing this, you should not be surprised to learn that I also didn't think too hard about becoming the tooth fairy.
You know what's fun and exciting? Being the tooth fairy the first time your child loses a tooth. You know what's not fun and exciting? When your kids loses her 12th tooth one afternoon at school, and you are totally bamboozled by it because it is happening so often that she doesn't even tell you when she's got wigglers anymore. And you're rushing so fast between after-school activities and homework and life that when bedtime rolls around you check on your sleeping child, and you don't even notice that little piece of detached bone in a cup on her desk.

You know what's not fun for a child? Jumping up out of bed expecting a dollar and just finding a piece of bone instead.

This time of year, the magic is all around us. But somewhere, someone's baby is finding the receipt from Target that has all the gifts Santa will "magically" make appear under the tree..
or seeing a parent moving a creepy elf in the middle of the night...
or finding a bone instead of a dollar...

So I wanted to leave my friends an early Christmas present, just in case. Ho Ho Ho.

Years ago when my daughter was still quite small I found a letter circulating the Internet that a mom had written to explain Santa to her kid. (I realize this is not the original draft or credit, so forgive me. I'm late picking up my kids from school, because I started this blog without thinking through the aftermath.) Anyway, I read it, I loved it, and I used it as a skeleton to write my own letter. I saved it for a couple years until the right moment--which apparently was a couple weeks ago during the Tooth Fairy Debacle of 2016. And I have to say, it was so well received that it made me proud to be this kid's parent (and a little bit gracious with myself, because what may have started without much thought gave me lots to think about and perfect along the way.)

Without further ado, here it is.
Read it, love it, steal it, and make it your own.

Today we want to tell you the truth about Santa Claus.
I know you’ve wondered about the answer to this question before, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say and when to say it.
The answer is no. There is no one Santa.
There was a real person named St. Nicholas who loved to give gifts to the needy in secret, often leaving them in their shoes or “stockings”(socks) and that is who most people model their idea of Santa Claus after.
Daddy and I are the people who fill your stockings with gifts and leave your presents under the tree. Not because you need them—but because we love you and we want to give you good gifts. The reasons we chose to be your Santa Claus are very important.

Santa Claus teaches us about hope and anticipation. We know how exciting it is to wait for something good. We felt that excitement when you were growing in Mommy’s tummy—you were the gift we knew was coming. We love seeing you get excited on Christmas Eve, knowing good things will happen while you sleep. We want you to always hope for good things in your life.
God wants you to hope for good things, too! (Romans 8:28) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”

Santa Claus teaches us to believe in things we can’t see or touch. The magic of Santa Claus at Christmastime is fun, but it helps prepare us for times when we need to have faith and can’t see. When things seem tough, you can remember to look for the God’s beauty all around you.
God wants you to remember He is there, even when you cannot see Him. (John 20:29) “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

Santa Claus teaches us the joy of giving. You have always been so good about this. You know that there are some people who do not have enough—enough food, enough clothes, enough medicine, or enough money for toys or other fun activities. We are blessed to be able to give to those in need, and we should. When we give our good gifts, in service and in secret, it is almost like we are Santa Claus to those in need!
God wants us to share our blessings with others. (Deuteronomy 16:17) “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.”

Santa Claus teaches us to be grateful in receiving. We are all going to mess up and be naughty sometimes. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Daddy and I don’t give you gifts because you’re good. We give you gifts because we love you. We hope that you notice all the good things God gives you and tell Him how thankful you are for them—especially the greatest gift of all, Jesus.
(John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Because these lessons are so important, “Santa” will always come to our house on Christmas. And we hope that whenever you find your stocking and present under the tree, you think about the importance of these lessons and recall these verses in your heart.

Remember to keep the secret of Santa to yourself so other mommies and daddies can tell their kids whenever they are ready. It is all of our jobs to help keep the magic of Santa Claus alive for them so they can learn these important lessons too!

We love you so much, Baby Girl.

Mommy and Daddy

Merry Christmas, y'all. (And good luck to Santas everywhere!)

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