When My Husband Saw Santa


Athena and Hesperus by the tree and homemade ornaments during the year we lived in Niger

Athena and Hesperus by the tree with its homemade ornaments during the year we lived in West Africa

Everyone in my family believes in Santa Claus.

When James was about seven he saw Santa.

He lived with his mom in an apartment in Buffalo. They had a tree in the corner of the living room.

He went to bed very excited and happy on Christmas Eve holding a little elf ornament that he slept with every Christmas Eve on one shoulder, his blue blanket on the other.

Jimmy woke in the middle of the night. Everything was dark except the lights from the tree. He heard some kind of noise and crept out of bed to investigate.

He walked slowly down the hall.

Santa was there! His back to Jimmy, he was wearing his big red and white suit, taking presents out of a big beige sack, and putting them under the tree.

Seven-year-old Etani stops snipping little pieces of paper onto the ground, purple scissors in the air, and listens with wide eyes.

“I had the feeling you weren’t supposed to be up on Christmas Eve and seeing Santa. I thought maybe I was seeing things. Maybe it was just my mom and I mistook her for Santa. So I peeked around the corner again and saw Santa again putting the presents under the tree. I whipped my head back so he wouldn’t see me. I thought about the song that he knows when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake and worried that if Santa saw me he might take the presents away. I could hear the ornaments on the tree jingling as Santa brushed against them. I tiptoed back to bed as slowly and silently as I could. In the morning all the presents were there.”

Last year money was so tight I was really worried Santa wouldn’t come. I kept telling the kids that Santa might be in a recession, that he might have had to let some of his elves go, and that they shouldn’t be disappointed if there weren’t many presents.

When morning came there were so many presents under the tree that the kids could barely contain their excitement.

“He came Mommy!” Athena, who was eight then, cried. “You were afraid he wouldn’t come but he did! He really did!”

Money’s tight again this year but I’m not so worried. One way or another I think Santa will come through. He hasn’t failed us yet.

Note to readers: Mothering Outside the Lines will be on vacation until Tuesday, December 28th. Then we’ll be continuing our discussion of labor and birth and talking about how to have an empowered birth, whether this blog should start doing blog giveaways, and what kind of posts you readers would like to see in the new year. Come back to give your input and participate in Mothering Outside the Lines’s first ever (and only?!) giveaway. Happy holidays to all!

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5 thoughts on “When My Husband Saw Santa”

  1. Thanks for sharing your family’s Santa Claus stories. 🙂 I’m wondering what your thoughts are about lying to children to instill the Santa Claus belief in them. This has been a topic of debate for a lot of parents so I’m wondering how you feel about it. Same applies to the Tooth Fairy and other such fairy tale-ish ideas imbibed in children through their childhood that they come to realize is not what they were told by their parents. Is it right to deceive a child for the sake of childhood fantasy and parental pleasure? Would it not be better to let go of this custom and simply celebrate occasions honestly? I know this is a controversial topic for some but I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on it. 🙂

  2. I really think that we may not be fooling the kids as much as we think. I know for a fact that I did not believe in Santa when I was about six, but I pretended to, because I didn’t want to upset the grownups!
    .-= Vera Marie Badertscher´s last blog ..12 Gifts for Your Holiday Reading =-.

  3. Thanks for asking Cynthia. I know this is a conversation that’s been going on at Lisa Belkin’s New York Times Motherlode blog. I certainly agree with you that we shouldn’t lie to our kids but I’m not really sure that I equate folk stories or fairy tales with lying. I need to think more about it… For my husband, who to this day can’t explain how he saw Santa, Santa is still very real. A few years ago I researched this topic for a local newspaper article and found out that psychologists say that children stop believing in Santa when they’re ready to stop believing… For years my children’s friends have been telling them there is no Santa and it’s just their mom and dad. So far they haven’t listened. I’d be curious to hear more of your thoughts on this matter.
    .-= Jennifer Margulis´s last blog ..What Did I Learn From Being Robbed =-.

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