A little side note before I begin… This post is a special post to me. It didn’t start out this way. It evolved. What started as a book review, took me down memory lane and the sentiment behind it all made me want to share it too. So pour yourself a nice glass of some vino. Its story time.
My personal story of Santa
I grew up in Southern California. Winters usually consisted of the occasional rain shower and brisk temperatures around 60-70 degrees. On good days it would reach to the 80s and we would make a beeline to the ocean. My childhood was anything but ordinary in my opinion. We grew up fairly poor. Our family of three (my Mother, younger Sister and myself) lived in numerous homes before settling in Ontario. A few years later we moved to Chino about 20 minutes away right smack on a full-blown chicken ranch.
“I’m going going, back back, to Cali Cali”
It was the late 1980s. We didn’t have cable or even color TV. We stuck a foil wrapped wire hanger in the TV for reception. We used pliers to turn the station. It was on that same black and white television where I would watch the seasonal Charlie Brown Christmas. I ate Kraft macaroni and cheese on the reg as if it was my job with no care in mind that it was potentially laced with horrible horrible chemicals as the internet now a days tells me. When I wasn’t eating the chemically laced macaroni and cheese, I was eating Top Ramen. The other chemical pasta.
Our homes would shake as airplanes came in for their landing into Ontario airport because we lived right under their descent. Here is a snapshot of our street. During our years here, we lived in 3 homes. The two front homes you see pictured and one wayyyyy in the back. My Grandma and Papa also lived on this street. Nothing relevant to Santa but I thought since I was sharing so much I might well give you guys a visual at what we are talking about here. 🙂
We moved to Chino between my 2nd and 3rd grade year around 1990. My Mom raised my sister and I in a Santa believing household. I worked myself up every. single. Christmas. I got butterflies. I am sure I bounced off the walls with energy from the excitement and drove everyone around me nuts. I nervously would try to sleep, twist and turn, flip and flop until I would pass out. Just like every other kid right?
I did not anticipate to find what I did.
I remember sneaking into my Mom’s room and slowly sliding her heavy solid wooden closet door open. I WON. I HIT THE JACKPOT. I FOUND THE TREASURE. Bags and bags and glorious shopping bags. All of our presents neatly placed at the bottom of the closet still in their original shopping bags from the store. As I peeked into the bags as any mildly curious child would do, I squealed to myself when I saw everything I could ever want for Christmas within those bags.
I didn’t tell a soul what I just saw.
…except for my sister. Sorry Sis.
The night of Christmas Eve arrived and I remember laying in bed suuuuuper quiet and still, listening to my Mom wrap presents through our paper-thin walls. “She has no idea that I saw EVERYTHING within those bags” I thought to myself. Little did I understand then but that was to my detriment. I single-handedly spoiled the magic of Santa and I didn’t even know it. Yet.
The roosters crowed as the Christmas morning-sun kissed the chicken coops as it rose over the horizon. I woke my sister and exclaimed it was Christmas (because she probably forgot it was a very important morning as she slept, right?) Our morning tradition allowed us ONLY to open our stockings in order to let my Mom and Dad to sleep before diving into our presents. We waited in anticipation that morning, giddy and full of delight; my last Christmas that would happen.
Shred by shred I removed the wrapping paper from my presents. As I read the tags, my dots started to connect. “This is MOMs handwriting.” “This is the SAME wrapping paper as the other presents.” “THIS IS WHAT WAS IN HER CLOSET!” “WHAT!“
Loosing part of the Christmas spirit
My gut had an empty feeling. I was heartbroken. But I knew I did it to myself. I don’t even remember discussing it with my Mom, I just figured it out. And I did what any other big sister would do, I told my little sister to share in with my disappointment. Sorry sis. No Christmas was the same after that.
The Santa Tradition Now That I’m a Mom
Now that I am a Mom I have to think of all these little things that will eventually shape my child. Even something so silly as a Santa tradition. I start to analyze every minute theory, choice and potential decisions and my Mama brain has a hard time with this. Ya feel me? I didn’t really think this Santa tradition would be that much of an issue until I started to ask what other parents do. What they want to teach their children and how they want to handle this Santa situation. Faith, Jesus, white lies, truth, Elf on the Shelf… ALL OF IT. Not only if they will be raising their children up in a Santa-believing household but to what degree and how they should break the news to them when the time is right.
Here is what some of my girlfriends had to say
“My girls are 4 and 1. This is a hard one. I want my daughters to believe in the excitement and Christmas joy of Santa. We don’t over-do the magic of Santa in our home, but we let them have fun with the movies and books and play along. So at this point I think my four-year old believes Santa is a cartoon character like Mickey Mouse. What we do discuss on the regular is the magic of Jesus. We want her to know the real meaning of Christmas and to look at Santa as a fun game during the holidays.” – Jenna with Espresso Ever After
“My children are 2 and 4 months, and I was recently just talking about this with someone and they brought up a valid point that my husband and I are now considering.
I’m not sure if I want my children to believe in Santa. Now, hear me out. Why do I want to build up this fictional character that knows when they’re sleeping and knows when they’re awake, if they’ve been naughty or nice, and brings them presents only to find out years later that it was all fake when we can teach them the real reason for the season which is Jesus, his birthday, and what he did for us. Jesus does the same thing as Santa, he knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice, and definitely blesses you with gifts, perhaps the best gift of all, life! Not to mention, Jesus is real! Or at least our faith in Jesus is real.
While this does sound good in theory, I do worry about my child wondering why other kids believe in the magic of Santa. Santa is traditional Christmas after all. I also wouldn’t want my child to be the one to burst another child’s bubble of Santa not being real. It’s a tricky subject right now, and I’m slowly running out time to figure it out. Right now, my two year old doesn’t really understand too much about Christmas, she’s just in awe of lights and decorations.
All I am certain of is that I want both of my children to believe in the real magic of Christmas and the REAL reason of the season. I don’t want that magic to disappear because they find out some part of Christmas isn’t actually real!” – Jennifer with Jen & Juiceboxes
“My 6-year-old has asked. When we saw Santa get in a car next to us after a visit to meet him at Barnes N Noble last year…
The commonality with just about everyone who shared their views with me was that they didn’t really have a plan in place when they started to ask questions about the reality of a fictional Santa or if they do it would involve them talking to their kido. If only there was a realistic way to handle that awkward conversation without being abrasive or harsh…
(…drum roll please…)
Y’all I have a solid resolution.
a parent resolution to that super awkward conversation to have with your child when they start asking for the truth behind Santa.
This book takes the child through the process and provides them with a solid, reasonable, rational explanation behind Santa in a way that they won’t be heartbroken or dreams shattered. It is gentle yet empowering to the child to give back and continue the tradition themselves. The author also guides the child to help keep “the secret” and not share it with their friends who still believe. Scott the Illustrator perfectly captured the story line with the most beautiful and well thought out artwork. For those of us that do believe in Jesus, this book does not mention Him however, it sets the table so that you would be able to interject that into the story if you choose to do so; something that was important to me with this reveal.
At the end of the book it has a pledge or a “Promise” that they can sign in order to confirm that they will “Never tell a soul” and help keep this secret of the magic of Santa. They also included an activity sheet which helps the child feel special for being a part of this “special secret Santa club” by having them write out their own Nice List and provides them with some “Nice Ideas” such as writing a nice note. It’s a “children’s book, parental solution, activity and tradition IN ONE.”
The Creator and Author of this book are brother and sister: Tyler and Chelsea. I actually know Tyler from Nashville who is a singer + songwriter who now lives in Portland with his beautiful wife and a brand new baby. The words selected throughout this book has a real special touch to them and I wholeheartedly believe it is because of Tylers gift of songwriting.
I haven’t met Chelsea in person but after watching the video of sharing this story with her daughter, I firmly believe she would “get me.” Here is the video and make sure you have tissues handy…
So here is the details to order your own “There’s Certainly a Santa.”
Price: $19.95 w/ FREE shipping
To purchase: click here
For more information about the book for parents (think of tips and tricks to help this go over well): click here
Follow on @certainlysanta Instagram: click here
Tweet Tweet @certainlysanta: click here
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I am glad that I will be able to carry the tradition of Santa with the ability to still incorporate the joy of giving and the secret of Santa when the time is right. Additionally, I also hope that I have HELPED some of you Mamas out there that may be anticipating this conversation is quickly approaching or has almost happened already OR is no where close to it but you can hang on to this book for the future (like me.)
What are some of your Christmas traditions? Do you remember when you stopped believing? Are you raising your children in a Santa-believe household? Let me know in the comments below!