When Rosie was little, her daddy and I made a deal. As soon as she didn't believe in Santa Claus, Christmas presents in our home would cease. Not the Rosebud, just for us (actually in hindsight I think I originally said the whole ball of wax would go away, but over a decade later, I've changed my mind). So, I figured that this was the year as Rosie's eleven.
She no longer believes in the Easter Bunny (“Mama, he had skin in-between his fur and his sleeve. I think he's a fraud”) or the Tooth Fairy (“Oh come on, you forgot and then I saw you put the money under my pillow in the morning and try to fool me”). And while she once had a Tinker Bell room she now declares that “fairies are for babies.” So, I thought it safe to assume that she was pretending to still believe in the man in red.
So, I took a risk a week or so ago and approached the subject.
“Rosie, since you no longer believe in Santa, I want you to know…”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” she cried. “Santa's not real?'
And, then she flopped on the floor in despair and made a few dramatic noises. I cringed at her response. But I could have sworn I saw her peek out at me from under her long lashes and check my response.
“For real,” I said (cursing the place I probably secured myself in Mommy hell.) “I thought you didn't believe in Santa. You don't believe in any of the rest of the magical, mythical stuff.”
Her blue eyes were filled with tears as she looked at me and said, “That's cause somebody WRECKED it all for me.”
At that moment, I could feel the flames flicking at my feet. But I knew I had to hold my ground. Christmas at our home (the way it had been) had to stop.
Every year my hubby and I wind up buying each other crap that we don't need just to have presents under the tree so Rosie continues to believe in Santa. Let's face it, when you get small kitchen appliances, pajamas and books every year, you know it's been tough shopping for your spouse. Plus, if we need something, we usually just buy it so it makes it more difficult to find the perfect gift.
This year, money is tight. So the realization that we may spend a couple hundred bucks on non-essential items for each other was pretty frightening. So, I did what any good and frugal mother would do. I told my child Santa wasn't real.
Rosie claims she still believes (and that I've completely wrecked the holiday), but the moment she discovered that she'd still get some gifts, I never heard another word about the big man in red. So, I think she's full of bunk and just wants to hold on to the magic of the holidays. Some of her friends still swear that Santa is real so I've asked her to keep the secret a little while longer. At least until their mothers (or someone on the playground) wrecks the magic for them.
How old were your kids when they no longer believed?