Before I could read, my father told me a fib. He would say that the little paper tab at the top of each Hershey's Kiss was a fortune. I loved those 'kisses', in part because I was a fan of chocolate right from the start, but also because I loved hearing my new fortune. I would hand him the paper ribbon... 'Hmmm, this is a good one, you will be visited by a mysterious guest... you have many hidden talents... you will travel far', a miniature gift with every chocolate morsel.
When I finally did learn to read, it was completely crushing to realize that each 'kiss' was identical, 'Hershey's, Hershey's, Hershey's'. No adventures or predictions, just plain and simple branding. It seems ridiculous now, but I felt betrayed and let down in discovering the truth.
I've always held onto these fantasies. I was far older than any of my friends when I finally made peace with Santa. When I got push back at school, I would maintain that Santa only visited if every member of the household believed, and clearly their parents were doubters. One Christmas when I was twelve, worries were creeping in, and I started dropping helpful hints to my mother, 'I hope Santa doesn't have the same wrapping paper as you do... because you know, he probably wouldn't'. I didn't want to stop believing, I needed it all to be true.
Little Smith is still too young to know where his presents come from, but as a parent, I do struggle with this whole idea of lying, fibbing, or making things up. Those fantasies made for wonderful memories, I can't even imagine a childhood without the joy of magic. Still, it feels uncomfortable to be deceptive in any way to such an innocent and beautiful little boy. I don't want him to feel betrayed the way that I once did, but I also don't want him to miss out on the all the fun.
I know that I'm going to commit to Santa, but the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy... eek it's just going to be so tough. I think the idea that helped me the most, as I was making my (very slow) transition from fables to adulthood, was that all of this magic does exist in spirit. Santa represents the spirit of a holiday, an inspiration for us to share with the ones we love.
Or maybe I was right all along, and Santa really will come if everyone here truly believes. I might give that a shot this year. Of course, I still stand by fairy's, for reals... so maybe that whole suspension of disbelief will just go over with ease in this house and I won't ever have to come clean. I'd be happy to just indulge in magic forever, and I sure would be happy if every Hershey's Kiss came with a fortune.