I tried dropping hints, you know, leaving presents in obvious places, like the closet. Hiding some under the bathroom sink, fully expecting a certain 9 year old to snoop. Nope. I mean, I refuse to flat out tell her, HEY, there's no Santa. It's a lie we've told you since you were born so you could have nine years of magic in your life. But secretly I believe that nine is a good year to figure it out.
Now, we're not going to get started on whether or not you should let your kids believe in Santa and then reveal that it's all been a lie you've started, because Santa isn't really a lie. He's a mythical figure, a cultural icon and he's been around for centuries in different forms, so he is real. No, the magic is real, it's just, the big jolly man with the red cheeks in the red suit happens to be daddy and mommy or holiday workers. So here is the evolution of realization. I'm thinking the same thought process can explain how man became self-aware.
Christmas morning, 3:30 a..m....
"Maamaa maammaa Saanntta came, maama maamma...."
Looking at clock in disbelief, I mean, 3:30 a.m? I never did that... "I don't care who came, it's 3:30 in the freakin' morning go back to bed."
"I can't sleep!"
"Then just lay there til morning."
Mad present opening festivities. There is a feeling of unease in said nine-year old's being as she asks if this present is from mom or from Santa, but I do not detect it. She is gleefully ripping open presents seeming a true Santa believer.
Dinner, Christmas Day....
Eating mashed potatoes peacefully after giving up trying to get toddlers to not wander with mashed potatoes into the living room. The sofa's slipcovered, it can be washed.... All of a sudden....literally, no warning. Self realization seldom comes with warnings, apparently.
"Are you trying to tell me that you and Santa use the same cards?" *Note, I wasn't trying to tell her anything, I was peacefully eating mashed potatoes. "It's not like Santa would say, 'hey, can I borrow some cards?'" *She'd apparently given this some thought, tossing a scenario or two around in her head that would explain these inconsistencies... "Are you pretending to be Santa? Don't lie to me on Christmas Day. Nobody should lie on Christmas Day. Are you telling me there's NO Santa, that you're Santa?"
And then Daddy came up with the whole, "Yes, we're Santa, but the magic of Christmas is real, and Santa is the spirit of giving and family and love, and that's the magic, and that's what Santa is, so in a way, Santa is real, every year we play Santa, because it's all magical." Go Daddy.
So just like that, out of the blue, during an uninteresting bite of mashed potatoes, my nine year old discovered the secret behind Santa, yet still managed to retain a belief in the Christmas magic.
Now isn't that something.
We figured Santa was a crock and that was pretty much it for the magic, too...