This was the year my daughter stopped believing in Santa. We knew it was here, we even had a chance to chat about it and she shared how special Christmas was to her, and what she was looking for in the future.
Before Christmas arrived she helped us collect little items for the family stockings. She helped to choose her brother’s gift from the Jolly Elf, and was excited to help us set the whole thing up on Christmas Eve.
And then the night arrived.
The little kids put out cookies and milk, while big sister giggled on the side. Everyone went downstairs and we watched our Christmas movie (to chill the kiddies out) and when it was finally “time” I asked if she was going to come upstairs for a minute while the little humans went to sleep.
She told me that she was okay, and actually, she was pretty tired and should get some sleep.
Then I prodded further, thinking perhaps she just misunderstood.
I whispered to her “Aren’t you going to come and drink some of the milk and nibble on the cookies” and she said “well, I have already brushed my teeth, so I shouldn’t”
I tucked her in, just like her sister, and quietly closed the door and went about my holiday magic making, somewhat perplexed.
She had set the rules for this new Christmas, the one where she had stopped believing in Santa. She had the plan, and the ideas of what it would be like, and now, she had changed it all.
I talked to her the next day and asked why she didn’t join me. She told me that she had wanted to keep the surprise and the magic alive for just a little longer.
We shared our thoughts about Santa in The Wall Street Journal,and listening to my daughter talk to the reporter I realized that believing in the magic of the holidays and the “spirit of Santa” doesn’t go away when you finally learn the truth. My daughter showed me on this, her first Christmas where she stopped believing in Santa, that the magic of Christmas is what we make it, and nothing more or less.
I imagine as she gets older she will eventually join us upstairs on Christmas Eve, but can I just say how glad I was that she didn’t do it this year? That she let ME have one more year to create something magical FOR her.