When King was little, Santa used to bring him presents - really awesome, big gifts that he'd leave under the tree. And, of course, he'd fill King's stocking, too. In fact, Santa brought such nice gifts that I began to wonder what I was supposed to get King for Christmas. When I was little, it was my parents who always got me the "good" gifts. Santa just filled my stocking. Every year he brought me (among other things): a Life Savers "Sweet Story Book",
Does anyone else remember these?
a large candy cane, a big red apple, and an amazingly large orange, which always found its way to the toe of my stocking. What a guy!
Why couldn't Santa do this same thing for my kids? So I made a call to the North Pole and told Santa that from then on he should just stick to stocking-filling at our house; I would handle the rest. King was a little surprised that I actually had Santa's phone number and that I could boss around the big guy like that, but he accepted it without much argument.
"Yes, Ma'am. Whatever you say."
So for the past ten years or so, that's the way its been. On Christmas Eve, we open all the wonderful wrapped gifts from the family and on Christmas morning the boys' stockings are filled with random little gifts from Santa.
However, this year Michael came to Curtis and I one evening and asked,
"Does Santa fill my stocking or do you guys do it?"
As has been our tradition when faced with these kinds of questions, we played dumb:
"What do you mean? Why do you ask?"
"Well, last year Santa gave me a Thor action figure. I mean, how did he know that I needed a Thor?* I wrote him a letter, but then later, after Christmas, I saw the letter in Nana's purse."
"Hmmm... Interesting.... What do you think? Do you think he's real?"
"I think you guys fill my stocking. Just like you are the Tooth Fairy."
We were kind of surprised that Santa's house of cards didn't fall when the Tooth Fairy got called out a few years back. But now, the jig was definitely up. It was time to come clean.
"Yes. We are Santa Claus. Well... Dad is Santa Claus because Mom goes to bed too early."
Later when King came home, Michael asked if he could "tell him". Curtis said, "Sure".
"Santa isn't real. Mom and Dad fill our stockings."
"No they don't. He's real."
"No, really, dude. It's them. They told me."
"Oh, yeah. I knew that. I just didn't want to ruin it for you."
I am thankful there didn't seem to be any great trauma or sense of betrayal over this revelation. However, we will continue on as usual: Santa will fill stockings on Christmas morning, because, in truth, he's still as real as he ever was.
*Jethro seems to have a taste for hammer-wielding Norse gods, as he has eaten about three of them so far.