We'd never really thought about it before, but the concept of traveling over Christmas poses some interesting logistical issues when it comes to children and Santa. Lots of questions that parents need to be prepared to answer, lots of lies that need to be told, even greater than the BIG lie of Santa himself.
You know how one small untruth can get you in a boatload of hot water? And how you have to create another untruth to cover that one, then another, and another, and another, and pretty soon you can't keep your story straight and people start looking at you sideways, starting to see through the intricate web of BS you've painstakingly woven?
Yeah, me either. ;-)
But this was kind of like that, and I am thankful that kids, or at least my kid, doesn't know yet to question what Mommy and Daddy say.
Santa comes on Christmas Eve when kiddies are asleep. But how does he get in? He comes down the fireplace. Nevermind that that fireplace is gas and has no chimney, right? And if you leave milk and cookies, you'd better remember to eat them/put them back in their containers/throw them away and leave a few crumbs before you go up to bed or, OMG, what kind of psychological damage would you do to your kid then?? And presents - do you make some of them from Mommy and Daddy, or are all of them from Santa? How do you explain that Mommy and Daddy give presents to each other, but not to the kid? Do Santa's elves really make them, or do they buy them? Where do they get the money? Do they have Target and Wal-Mart at the North Pole?
Just like that stupid elf, which I refuse to subscribe to (hell, I just don't have time!) - you have to keep up with the charade every day! No thank you.
There needs to be a guide book for parents about this stuff so we can be sure to get it all right. But one thing is clear, I can see that as the skill of deductive reasoning begins to grow in our little ones, as they begin to ask the most difficult of questions and stop blindly believing everything we grown ups say, the Great Myth that is Santa breaks down and the truth comes out. I do wonder at what age that will occur for us.
Anyway, back to travel and creating more BS lies that need maintaining...
We decided upon our story early on, well before leaving for England over Christmas. In answer to her excitement that Santa would be coming soon, we told her that he knew that we couldn't carry stuff in our luggage while we were traveling, so he would only bring a few small things to Auntie Caz's house, but would still come to our own house while we were gone to bring things for her. And, knowing that we couldn't leave the presents out while we were gone (two curious kitties would demolish them), we told her that Santa was well aware of the cats, and would be putting the presents up in a closet for us to bring out on our return.
Oh, we are soooooooo smart!! We patted ourselves on the back for that. We put mince pies and milk out for Santa along with carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, next to Auntie Caz's small, wall-mounted gas fireplace. In the morning, Samantha walked over to the fireplace and shouted into it, "Thank you for the presents, Santa!" (...and thank you Auntie Caz for having some wonderful, easy-to-carry, paperback books wrapped up for her under your tree!!...)
When we returned home to the US, we reminded her that the presents from Santa were tucked away safely, and that we would bring them out the next day (New Year's Day), when Gramma and Grampa were coming over to do Christmas with us. She was happy with that.
May I just say how grateful I am that stores were open early on New Year's Day? I awoke with a start that morning, suddenly worried that the small, not terribly exciting presents we'd gotten for her would be a disappointment to her. In years past she'd have been happy with anything, but her tastes have become more, well...sophisticated. We never know what to get her anymore, as she doesn't ever express any specific interest in specific toys. She doesn't watch commercial television, so we don't have the opportunity to gauge her reactions to the toy ads. I had just gotten her some little stocking-stuffer-type things and a couple of books, but was at a loss beyond that, and realized that morning that she needed some kind of action toy, something that does something, that she can physically play with, something that would keep Christmas exciting for her. So I sent Steve out to Target, where he hit a goldmine, and picked up a couple of things that she was extremely happy with, thank goodness.
If Christmas had been a flop, what would that do to Sammi's opinion of Santa? Would she ever like him anymore? Would the Christmas spirit forever be ruined for her?
Luckily we didn't have that problem.
Christmas was saved.
Santa was saved.
And the lies continue for now...