My biggest concern of all of the above reasons for eliminating him from the holiday season is the first - I do not lie to my children. That is, I don't lie to them, with this one exception! Santa is magical, he's a giving person who wants to spread joy. Why wouldn't I want my children to feel that magic once a year? "But what about when they find out it was all a lie?", you ask? Here's how it worked for me, and how I went about this with my oldest: When I started doubting the whole Santa thing, my dad took me aside and explained that he was really Jolly Old St. Nick. A slight shock, but I was OK. Then, he enlisted my help. Now that I was grown up enough to know the secret that little kids didn't know, I was an elf (when I had kids of my own, I got to climb the ladder to "Santa" status.) So, from then on, I got to join in on helping my brother and sister write letters to Santa, I got to help choose the gifts for them from Santa, I got to stay up late and help my dad arrange the gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve. My oldest loves having these special privileges, too.
So, do you remember the photo I posted a couple of days ago, asking if you could figure out why Little Guy was so amazed and my teen was giving me an actual smile... for the camera?
Here's the wonderful Holiday story:
Little Guy and I wrote a letter to Santa as our Dec. 1st activity from our Christmas Countdown/Advent calendar. He dictated a short letter to me, then we cut out pictures of toys he liked from the Black Friday ads we'd been saving. Being three, he wanted everything. So, we spent a good hour cutting things out. Then, we weeded it down to 1 page's worth of toy pictures and we glued them all onto the letter. As I folded up his letter, he said, "No, Mama! Don't close it all up! I need to make a picture!!!" Whenever we send his grandmas anything, we always include a freshly-drawn picture, so why not one for Santa, too? I traced his hand with a marker, then he colored it in and added a couple of stickers. I added it to the envelope, sealed it up... and didn't know what to write for the addressee.
Google was no help. I man, there were nearly 2 million hits for "Santa's address", but I was hoping to find one where we might be able to get some kind of response - even a form letter. I went from site to site for nearly an hour and finally gave up. I did the next thing I always do when I need to find something online and just can't:
|How COOL is this???|
Before she even received the letter, Bernie asked if she could include a small gift for him and what might be appropriate. I suggested some stickers or, if she meant a package, she could probably find a die cast car for a buck. Then, STILL before she got the letter, she (or maybe her husband, Roy) came up with the idea to send him a stamp with his name on it. He LOVES stamps! And, what about one for my oldest, too? Um... OK! THEN, she emailed and asked if the kids could have candy canes. She said that Roy insisted that Santa always sends candy canes, but she wanted to make sure I was cool with the candy part. Well, Santa and candy canes go together like milk and cookies, right? Of course he sends candy canes!
Finally, my oldest got home! Little Guy was just bursting the second he heard the front door open, "Brubber! Hurry up! We got a box from SANTA!!! Hurry!" Then, the poor kid had to wait for Mommy to take a picture.
The very first thing in the box was a "Santa's Nice List Certificate" with Little Guy's name on it. He was so happy to know that he was on that list! He'd been watching the Dora the Explorer Christmas special where Swiper gets put on Santa's naughty list and has been wondering about himself. (He's not been easy to live with lately!) I haven't used the old, "Santa's elves are watching you!" threat, but I sure have been tempted!
Then, they got into the gifts! Little Guy had no idea what his stamp was until we told him to push it down onto the cardboard. I couldn't believe it - I had to change my batteries right after the photo on the right. I completely missed the surprised look on his face when he moved the stamp. He can recognize his first name in print, so he knew exactly what it said. I love that Bernie & Roy included his last name, too. It was good thinking because we don't really write it much and he really should learn to recognize that in writing, too! Now, aside from learning to recognize (and eventually write) his own name, this stamp is going to be very helpful when it comes time to put his name on his drawings and art projects. You see, Little Guy just HAS to do everything by himself. He gets so frustrated when I write his name on the back of a drawing or project before we mail it off to a grandparent. Having his own stamp to put his name on all by himself is a great way to give him that independence he wants.
Although I missed the photo after he realized that the little box he was holding was a stamp, I did manage to catch the face he made in the photo on the left. I couldn't help but laugh when he proclaimed with much authority, "Brubber! I know what that is! It's a stamp with YOUR name on it!!!"
Now, on the right, you'll see a very genuine teenager smile! That smile is hard to find on an apathetic-acting teen's face - even harder to catch on film (or a digital memory card... whatever they call it nowadays.) He absolutely loves his stamp. It's not just his name, though! Nope - it's his signature with his name printed below it. He loves drawing - he's constantly working on creating his own brand of Yugioh-like cards, a manga comic book, or just doodling. He signs his work, then has to go back and print his name. He's proud of his work and wants people to know it was his work - his siggy is just a bunch of squiggles. So, Bernie and Roy created a signature stamp for him, with his full name printed below it. (You should have witnessed the weird looks he gave me for a couple of days after I asked him to show me his signature. I think he was under the impression that I was going to forge his name for who knows what reasons! LOL)
|Bernie & Roy even thought to add an extra bottle of ink for the boys!|
And check this out:
A real, framed AND autographed photo of Santa!!! I could have knocked him down with a feather when he saw this. Every morning, now, he wakes up and goes to his Santa picture and says hello. I'm wondering if Santa's picture will be spending his off-time in a box with all of our other Christmas decorations, or hanging on our living room wall year-round. (Actually, I think I know the answer. I'll be seeing Santa in July!)
|What a great letter - I love how all of the crafting we've been doing is mentioned!|
We added Little Guy's certificate and letter to our "Tree Wall" and his Santa photo is sitting right on his little red table. (Psst... check out my next post later on today to see what we did with this photo... There's a giveaway involved!)
I really want to thank Bernie and Roy
for helping to make Little Guy's first
"real" Christmas all the more magical.
Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have imagined
such a wonderful reply from Santa.
We'd all like to send you our gratitude and wishes for a very wonderful holiday and very happy new year to both of you!
*I like to think that I'm pretty creative when it comes to cool things for kids. But I'd NEVER have thought of a simple personalized stamp as being one of them. I'm doubly amazed that both my 3 y.o. and my 13 y.o. are equally thrilled to have their very own stamps. If you're thinking that a stamp like the ones that Bernie & Roy sent my kids, check out their online store: Rubber Stamp Shop. Hey - there's even have a secret section on the site with jokes! Ok, it's not secret, but it did take me a while to come across it.