The tree is up - not yet decorated, but up. It smells lovely and some warm holiday feelings are beginning to stir. I've started to eschew the elevator and walk the five flights up to our apartment so I'll be able to eat as many Christmas cookies as I want - you know I love to bake. Now if the worst cold virus known to humankind will just loosen its grip on my nose, throat, ears, eyes and chest, I'll be all set. Fa la la la la.
This is the first year Violet is old enough to understand the concept of Christmas and presents, so we've been talking up the whole Santa angle and she's stoked. It's our policy not to deceive the kids about Santa being real; we just tell them the story and say how fun it is to pretend that there really is a Santa. We write him letters and leave cookies; the whole shebang.
When Molly was three we said "Santa is a character, just like Cinderella. They don't really exist - they're just pretend." She furrowed her brow, gave us a dark look and said, "Cinderella is real." Okay then!
When she was four, she couldn't fall asleep on Christmas Eve; she tossed and turned and looked anxious.Finally she said, "Mom, you and Dad are really Santa, right? So who is going to be with me tonight while you're out shopping for my presents? I don't want to be all alone." Ha! I explained that we already had the presents, and we would never leave her alone, which of course led to the next question - where had we been hiding the presents all this time? Not too much gets by her.
So tonight when the girls were playing tug-of-war over the digital camera Molly got for her birthday (unbreakable Fisher-Price style) I said to Violet, "would you like Santa to bring you a camera like that for Christmas?"
She stopped screaming "mine!" and gave the camera back to her sister. "Yes. Ask Santa. Violet cra-mea. Shoes on now. Go ask Santa. Get shoes on, ho-kay Mom?" She headed toward the door. I said that Santa was probably sleeping because it was bedtime, but we'd try to track him down at Macy's tomorrow. That's when the girls' father, who had been taking all this in with his usual bemused expression and silence, piped up.
"Hey, is Macy's really on 34th Street?"
Yes, Virginia, it really is.
"Ah, I see. It's all coming together for me now," he said.
So it seems we'll be seeking out Santa tomorrow, if not on 34th Street, then at ABC Carpet and Home. The "real vs. pretend" discussion will be put on hold for Violet until next year. Ho ho ho.