“Is Santa Real Mommy?”

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The Santa lines to get your child’s picture taken have become the most traditional holiday experience for many families, mine included. It’s funny how most young children are afraid of Santa, while others look forward to their personal encounter all year long. This year I took my two youngest, Rain and Shaya to LA’s Grove, where shops line little streets which are decorated in all the holiday glory.

Christmas music plays softly through the center, the largest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen is decorated and Santa’s sleigh with his 8 reindeer, including Rudolph, fly high above. The Grove is also destination North Pole where you will find Santa’s house, his helpers, and even a snowman. So there we were, in line waiting for our turn when one of his elf’s announced that Santa had to leave momentarily to do an interview for EXTRA with Mario Lopez…only in Hollywood I laughed to myself! Try explaining that one to your children. I guess even Santa needs press.

When it was finally our turn, Shaya confidently told Santa that he wanted a “baby red guy” for Christmas. My son loves small plastic characters, you know the kind that are too tiny to keep and the ones that can drive you crazy searching for them. Then Rain took her moment, and Santa said goodbye. Shaya just sat there. “Come on,” I told him, but Shaya wouldn’t move. “I want my baby red guy,” he sweetly said. Santa then explained that he would bring it in two weeks, on Christmas. Of course my 2 year old son has no concept of what two weeks is. Even worse, we have had many fake, staged holiday theme photo and TV shoots at our home this year where truckloads full of decorations are brought in and then trucked out after the shoot is complete. I didn’t realize how confusing that must have been for my kids. ”Is Christmas ever really coming? Is Santa ever going to visit us?” they asked. In their minds, Santa never shows, and on Shaya’s big day to finally meet him, Santa didn’t deliver. I have preached the Santa story to them many times and explained how he delivers all the toys to the children and how he knows exactly what you want, blah, blah, blah. What I forgot was to tell them is that Santa comes on Dec 25th only, and only then does he give you something on your wish list. I was actually cracking up inside and so impressed with Shaya’s persistence to hold Santa accountable for what I had told him, and of course, it was all about the toy.

I totally got what Shaya was thinking, and in his most innocent way, he was right. I said Santa gives you toys…

My 8 year old is drilling me about the truth regarding Santa and the tooth fairy. I’m torn between fun fantasy and being honest. I have to keep the story going for the youngest ones, but my big girls want the truth. I started a fun response to quiet them in front of their youngest sister and brother. I simply say, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.” End of that conversation.

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