So I'm pretty sure there aren't any young children reading here. . . and so I feel safe writing a little bit about Santa Claus. I know it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but I have been thinking a lot about holiday gift-giving and when you have small children Santa naturally comes to mind.
Here are some things I remember about my childhood Santa experiences:
1) After about the second grade it was a big deal knowing who did and did not believe in Santa. I believed until the summer after third grade, which was a pretty long time. I remember the distinct disappointed feeling I would have when I realized another of my friends didn't believe. In fact I think I really knew the truth for a while, but I still wanted to believe. With each friend that didn't it was more difficult to hold on to that belief.
2) I remember driving home from my grandparents' on Christmas Eve and watching for Rudolph's nose out the window of the car. I remember listening for sleigh bells. Most years I thought I saw Rudolph and heard sleigh bells. I remember the cold feeling from leaning my cheek against the car window.
3) I remember that my sister was scared of Santa and had to sleep in my bed on Christmas Eve. (BTW this was also true for Easter.)
4) I remember asking my mom repeatedly (as I got older) whether Santa was real, and she would always respond by asking me, "Do you really want me to tell you?" I still think that was a great response because I didn't learn the official truth until I was really ready to hear it. Good job, Mom!
5) I remember how important and exciting it felt to keep the secret, especially from my brother, who is nine years younger than I am. Once my sister and I both knew it was like we were part of the most fun conspiracy ever. I'm glad that Harper will have the feeling of being in on that great secret someday.
6) I remember that a chimney sweep came to our house when I was old enough not to believe, but I think my brother and sister still did. He "found" a scrap of cloth from Santa's suit in our chimney and gave it to my brother. I get a little choked up thinking about how great that was.
7) We always asked my parents if we'd be allowed to open our gifts on Christmas Eve if Santa had already been to our house by the time we got home. They always said yes. And there was such an exciting moment when we'd walk into our dark house and I would imagine shadowy presents under the tree. Obviously Santa had never come, but I held my breath a little every year.
Do you have a favorite Santa memory? Do you remember how old you were or how you "found out" the truth about Santa? Is there anything special (besides bringing gifts) you help Santa do for your children? Are your children believers?