LONG BEFORE OUR daughter The Rock was a terrified gleam in either of our eyes, the H (that’s the Husband) and I were already deep into the Big Holiday Question. Not Christmas vs. Hanukkah. We’re a no-faith couple, not an interfaith couple, and we celebrate Christmas anyway, in all its pagan, caroling, red and green glory. (And we tell the story of the Christian part of the holiday to our kids, at least one of whom has a very solid belief in God, as a story that may or may not be true, but is believed deeply by many, many people.) No, our big Christmas question has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with reindeer: Do we, or do we not, perpetuate the Santa story?
As a little girl, I was a true believer. I don’t remember when I stopped (perhaps I’ve blocked that painful moment) but I do have a vivid recollection of standing in the lunch line in elementary school, engaged in a discussion-verging-on-argument, Santa-boosters vs. Santa-deniers. I had not a moment’s hesitation about whether or not we’d teach our kids to believe in Santa. But the H had other thoughts–or, more aptly, concerns. He worried about the LIE. What would our kid think of us when he learned the truth?
I pushed past my partner’s half-hearted objections, and moved forward. The River, my son, was taught to love Santa, and the result is the picture up at the top of this post: sheer infant joy, all directed at me, presumably for introducing him to The Big Guy.
‘That’s his magic,’ my daughter tells her brother, who also explains to him that Santa’s house is ‘right next to the stars.’
Now, though, he’s 7. He’s asking questions; his sister, The Rock, she of the Absolutely Certainty in All Things, has wholeheartedly bought in. For the first time this year, she’s willing to do the requisite horrible mall photo op without having me in the picture, too.
Meanwhile, her brother is looking for proof. Where do all these “helpers” come from? How do they communicate kids’ desires back to HQ? And, as far as my son is concerned, the big question: How in the world does he get to all those houses in 12 hours?
“That’s his MAGIC,” says the smaller sister, ending the conversation. Then she adds, as a sort of dreamy afterthought, “You know, Santa’s house? At the North Pole? It’s right next to the stars.”
How about your family? Is there consensus or discord on the subject of Santa? We want your stories (and we especially want your pictures, whether with or without Father Christmas involved, see below).
The Sister Project hopes you’ll share a holiday photo with a sisterly story or twist. We’ll post them all in a special gallery show as they arrive, to showcase all the facets of sisterhood at the holidays, from Halloween to New Year’s. Sisters with sisters, sisters with brothers, sisters with sister-friends…your call. All we need: your jpg and a caption (naughty or nice) in an email to thesisterproject at gmail dot com. Ho, ho, ho.