Published: 7 years ago

Ho Ho No Mo’

Christmas Eve, 11:32 PM, and I was stuck smack in the middle of an ethical dilemma. A moral conundrum. A rock and a hard place.

It wasn’t my annual night-before-Christmas problem: drinking Santa’s cup of milk. You see, I’m not a milk drinker. It’s not that I’m lactose intolerant. I’m actually quite tolerant of lactose when it comes in the form of ice cream and queso dip. But straight milk? No thank you. I’m a grown man and I’ll pour Santa’s homogenized offering right down the sink and go for a Dr. Pepper instead.

But back to my problem: Merriem and I were finishing up with the last of the gifts under the tree. And it was at that point that we noticed what our nine year old wrote on his note to Santa…

Dear Santa,

The (oatmeal) cream pie is for your trip. The other one is for now.

If you are real write a [symbol 1]. If not put [symbol 2]. Please be honest.

Your kid,




There I was, backed into a corner right beside the Christmas tree. 2011 has been the year of doubting for Jase. Regardless of your viewpoint on the big man in the red suit, it’s tough when your kid makes another step from childhood to adulthood.

And there lay our conundrum. The rest of the letter would have been tough enough, but when he added the “please be honest” tag at the end, well that was just the ol’ proverbial knife in the toy sack on our backs. And then “your kid”?!? It’s like he was taunting us with what he knew to be the truth.

Just so you know, we ended up writing “Jase, enjoy being a kid. Merry Christmas!” But on Christmas morning, the jig was up. Jase made a break for our bedroom closet where we’d stashed the special Santa wrapping paper. You know – the paper that only Santa is allowed to use, unless of course it’s December 23rd and you’ve run out of the mere mortal wrapping paper and so some of the stuff that you bought magically turns into stuff that Santa bought. But I digress. Jase found it, and the great mystery of childhood was once and for all solved. And a little part of me was very, very sad.

At the end of the day, it was a dilemma that would make an ethicist scratch his head. The parent in me wanted to keep the fat man around a little longer. The realist wanted to tell him the truth and settle the question. So what would you do? How did you handle the St. Nick question with your kids?

Comment below.

  1. Cathy C says:

    Wait a minute! What do youi mean that Santa isn’t real????? My sweet 30 something daughter still gets her Santa notes and gifts (tradition) but the spirit of Santa is still alive and well in both of us. She actually figured out the “truth” on her own and didn’t tell me
    We love the giving and getting (of course) of gifts. The surprsies we find, the love that is behind the surprises, the family time, the food, all the wonderful things that go along with “Santa Claus is coming to town”.
    We remember the real reason for Christmas and the gifts that were taken to a wee boy and how that wee boy grew up to save us
    Yes Santa is alive and well and at our house and I hope we never lose the magic of Christmas.

  2. Lisa says:

    We decided when Eli was a baby to not make a big deal about Santa. “Santa” only fills our stockings and we make sure that Eli knows about where the idea of Santa came from (St. Nicholas) and that we get to pretend to be Santa for each other. We still do all the fun stuff like taking pictures with Santa and watching Santa movies and making reindeer food, but Eli knows that there is not some man in a red suit who sneaks into our house and leaves him presents. Eli knows that Santa is just a guy in a costume and that Mommy and Daddy are the ones who give you presents. Of course, we walk the fine line of making sure that Eli doesn’t ruin it for other kids because for some kids that is all the hope they have because they don’t have Jesus yet.

  3. Stephen White says:

    This year, I read the book “Santa, Are You for Real” by Harold Myra to my son. It tells the story about the true St. Nicholas and how everyone else was keeping his spirit alive after his death. I didn’t read the book before reading it to him, so I didn’t know I was actually telling him how it all works.

    Fortunately he is only 2 years old, so I’m sure he didn’t put all the pieces together yet. We decided to put that book away with all the special Santa wrapping paper, and wait until the time is right.

  4. Easy answer, for us that is, and maybe others. We never answered the question outright. We just said “as long as you believe in Santa and what he is about, he will be real” and our 22 and 24 year olds still get a visit (stocking) from Santa.

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