We were so careful. Different wrapping paper, carefully labeled presents handwritten with our opposite writing hand, so as to disguise the real giver of the gifts. Six years of being cautious because you never know what little trick will give away Santa Claus’ real identity.
There’s a separate stash of Christmas wrapping paper in the garage. The stuff we use for birthdays and for Christmas gifts from Mom and Dad is openly displayed in a hallway closet. We know what we are doing. We know how this works.
Our oldest daughter is beginning to wonder about Santa Claus, though. She doesn’t get nearly as excited about his arrival as she used to and it’s making me believe that she’s been let in on some inside information at school. When we went to visit Santa at the mall, she didn’t sit on his lap and she seemed generally creeped out by the nice man. I am not ready for her to know the truth. I have a plan if she asks (Pinterest is great for that).
We were careless for one afternoon, though, and almost ruined it. I asked my husband to put the Easy Bake Oven in the back of his car so the kids could play in the garage while we put the Christmas lights up on the house one weekend. Easy breezy, right? Just make sure he takes the oven out of the car before he brings the kids to school on Monday morning. We’ve been sneaky for six years now. This is not rocket science.
Putting the lights up was such a huge accomplishment for us that we forgot about the oven, and on Monday, as my husband was buckling our youngest daughter into her car seat, the oldest peered around and noticed a big purple box in the back.
“Uh, Daddy, why is there an Easy Bake Oven in your car?”
Caught. We were caught. It was over. No one at school had to tell her. She didn’t have to look closely at labels. This was it. We did ourselves in and ruined the fantasy.
Then a light went off in my husband’s head (good thing it was him and not me in the morning).
“Oh, that’s for one of my players’ sisters,” the basketball coach said. “I am holding it for her because they didn’t want her to see it before Christmas.”
Genius. She bought it. Moving on.
Now we need a strategy behind giving her the oven. It can’t be from Santa, I thought immediately, because then she will have the first clue that the big man in the red suit is not who he says he is. It has to be from us, and then she finds out that we aren’t as sneaky as we should be.
Sure. That’s it. Right.
Last week, my husband suggested that it be from Santa and we just tell her that the one in his car was just a coincidence. “NO!” I shouted.
I’ve been thinking about this for weeks and I am in charge of this whole Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing!
I think he became scared of me, but I know that other moms can agree that the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing is very important to your child’s youth. It’s a very serious subject.
My daughter is pretty smart so hopefully when she opens the oven, she gets excited about the gift and doesn’t start thinking about where it came from.
And we will be a lot more cautious in the future. There are too many Christmases, Easters and teeth left in our parenthood.
Angela Borchert is a freelance writer who lives in Vacaville. Reach her at email@example.com.