It’s that time of year again. A magical time spent with family, friends and loved ones. A time when we MAKE time to see the ones we are usually too busy to see, the other 365 days of the year. A time where we shop, we bake, we wrap, we cook, we decorate, we reminisce, and we make memories.
If you have younger children, you know how much more magical this time of year really is. The smiles, and giggles when they find their Elf on a Shelf in different places around the house. Causing mischief while they were in dream land. The look of awe on their faces Christmas morning when they discover that Santa brought them the one gift they wanted more than anything. (The gift that most parents hope they can afford because let’s face it, Christmas can become expensive.) But what happens when they stop believing?
I don’t remember exactly how old I was, when I finally asked my parents the dreaded question. I do remember how unmagical Christmas seemed that year. I was deflated and let down. Now, my son is nine. I have been waiting the last two years for him to come to me and say he doesn’t believe. He’s been dropping hints. HE WANTS to believe. WE WANT him to believe. However part of me is afraid of the fall out that will follow when he finally learns the truth.
Being Autistic, my son is very literal. He is very truth oriented. So what seems like a harmless, fun lie to us, could be something far worse for him. I know, I probably worry too much, but what if something we meant to be fun and magical turns into something far worse?
It’s because of this that I am mentally preparing for what I will say and do when this dreaded day comes. The first thing I will do and explain that mommy and daddy were trying to make the holidays fun. We never meant to hurt his feelings by lying. (This is the part I worry most about. He’s so black and white in thinking. Explaining to him that some “lies” are okay, and most are bad, is NOT going to be easy.) Then, because my son is like me and a huge history buff, I will teach him the history behind the legend, Saint Nicholas. For those interested, The History Channel has a lot of info on Santa Claus.
Next, I will remind him of my favorite quote from the movie, The Santa Clause. “Seeing isn’t Believing. Believing is Seeing.” I will explain to him that the story of Santa, and all his goodness lives in our hearts. That since St. Nicholas is long gone, mommies and daddies carry on his traditions and the legends so their children and families can enjoy his memory. This is why we give to the Salvation Army or other charities, especially this time of year. To spread his goodness to others. Liam loves to put money in the red kettles every year! And we always give food to local food drives because we have been on the receiving end of those drives in the past.
I guess the most important thing I can tell him is that Kris Kringle lives in our hearts. His memory. His kindness. His love. Part of the magic of the holiday season is carrying this on for the ones we love.