I love writing fiction and I love reading it. I know you do too, or you wouldn’t be visiting this blog. As a writer there can be no greater fun than to make up stories and people my plots with characters conjured from my imagination. And I love escaping into the fictional worlds created by other writers.
But what about that other story we spin at this time of year? You know, the one about the jolly, white-bearded gentleman in the red suit who parks his reindeers on our rooftops while he slides down the chimney to deliver presents to those of us who have been very good all year.
As a child, I fervently believed in Santa Claus and have no memories of the day of disillusionment. Not so my daughter. When she was eight years old she confronted me with an angry little face. “The kids at school say that Santa Claus isn’t real, is that true?” I hesitated. Her scowl grew deeper. “Tell me the truth.”
So I did. She howled her outrage and betrayal that we had lied to her. That the rest of the world was in on the conspiracy to fool her. No matter how we explained that the Santa story was a lovely thing that made Christmas fun for children, a wonderful tradition started by St Nicholas, about the spirit of giving and sharing, all she could see was our dishonesty.
She stomped away, leaving me and my husband staring at each other with mirrored “what have we done?” expressions on our faces. We had fallen into celebrating the Santa thing with her without even thinking about it. When she queried the number of department store Santas, we thought about telling her the truth. When she asked tricky questions about the logistics of simultaneous around-the-world present delivery by flying-reindeer-drawn sleigh we thought about telling her. Instead we found ourselves getting deeper and deeper into the white lie of it.
But we loved the Santa story—the whispers and the tip-toeing around the house on Christmas Eve as we delivered Santa’s bounty. The kick my husband got out of creating a masterful reindeer bite out of the carrot we left out beside the milk and cookies. We smothered our giggles and reminisced about our childhood Christmases. And we loved the look of wonder next morning on her face when she discovered Santa had visited.
But our daughter was right. White lies are lies all the same. And we had no rejoinders. Especially when she stomped right back into the room. “If Santa is a great big lie, then what about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy?”
Do you have any Santa experiences to share? Any special holiday traditions? Please leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of my latest novel HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. Include your email address if you would like a chance to win.