December 19, 2012

Magic?


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.

14 comments:

  1. I feel the same. A bit uncomfortable about so blatantly lying yet not wanting to steal the magic.

    Bettina @ www.littleoldsouls.com

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  2. Erm my boy believes in Santa and we told him that only good and well-behaved children will receive presents from him. So he's really well-behaved lately. Haha. When he grows up, he'll eventually find out the truth about Santa but we intend to tell about the real Santa back then, the one who really gave presents to poor kids late at night. Ultimately, Christmas is all about sharing love and joy, be it from Santa or not. ♥

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  3. Great post, Lilly. I think we all feel like this a bit.

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  4. So as of right now we're not doing Santa. BUT I reserve the right to change my mind up until the very last second before Gus comes down the stairs. I never believed but Christmas and the entire holiday season in general always felt magical to me. I think you can get that feeling without misleading him. For me I take less issue with the misleading than I do with the focus on things and receiving (rather than giving and being together) that Santa promotes. Doesn't it feel like that's his only focus sometimes? Oooooh, jeeez. I just don't know.

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    1. I hear you, I do think it's important that it isn't all about getting 'stuff'. As a kid I do remember getting pretty excited for the loot, and I think some of that is okay as long as its all put in the proper perspective. It certainly has gotten way out of hand and in general, we make all of our Christmas gifts.

      Some of my favorite parts of the Santa thing though was making him cookies, seeing how the reighdeer nibbled their carrots around and around, picturing him squeezing down my chimney. I was way into it, I even got a shakey letter from Santa himself one year explaining that the guys I see in the mall are just his 'helpers' since he's very busy before Christmas (after I spotted some glue holding on a white beard). It was all very misleading, but I delighted in it too.

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  5. I thought the exact same thing about Hershey kisses {and was similarly disillusioned when I learned to read 'em} so I feel your pain. Sigh. If it helps any, my kids neatly transitioned out of believing in Santa to being part of Santa's helpers-- which is how I explained it as they got older. It doesn't have to be traumatic!

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    1. Oh that's good to hear, thanks Tabetha. And I can't beleive you also heard that Hershey myth, I thought I was the only one :)

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  6. That story of your dad and the hershey kisses is so wonderful. I think I prefer that kind of magic to the Santa kind, but we have yet to decide what we'll do on that front since we still have more time before Izzy will know the difference. It's such a tricky decision and I think I may have blew E's mind when I brought up other characters like the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy to E. So many decisions to make as a parent that you never think of until you have a child of your own.

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  7. I hear you so much on this one! We've come down on the side of not doing Santa, while still trying to make the season very magical. My husband was also very into the whole Santa idea and was devastated upon finding out the truth. On the other hand my parents were always very frank about the whole thing, telling me all about the "myth of Santa" while still letting me have fun with it and all that it represented. It's complicated though, isn't it? We want that pure, innocent joy without the fibbing part. Obviously our Ez is still too young to think about where his presents come from, but we have been talking about the big guy in terms of "what a fun, silly thing people like to believe in". I have a feeling next year we're really gonna have to commit one way or the other!

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  8. Sweet photos. Childhood is so magical...I think stories are great, and I love your dad's inventiveness. Santa represents a kind of faith in goodness, beauty and magic. I don't think it's a bad thing to encourage the kids to believe in that. :)

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  9. Oh, man. I struggle with this too, especially with my oldest who, at 5, is already such a truth-seeker and little scientist. He can handle the truth in everything. And then Oliver is so imaginative that it would seem like a huge injustice to NOT play along with the magic of Santa. I guess we are going along with it, and it is really fun to see the magic in their eyes on Christmas morning!

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  10. I had all these same challenges and then it just worked itself on out. Finn stopped believing at a very young age. I was both sad and relieved. Have you seen that sweet letter (that goes around social media every year) in which a mama tells the Santa truth? I'll see if I can find a link real quick ...

    OH! It's from Cozi.

    http://www.cozi.com/live-simply/truth-about-santa

    Super sweet and loving.

    Anyway, Merry Solstice! No messiness with that one.

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    1. I love that, really touching and smart. Thanks for sharing it- and yes, happy solstice!

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  11. I know I'm late to comment and Christmas is past, but I had to chime in! I feel similarly divided on how to do the Santa thing. I think it can be really fun and magical, but I'm completely unsure how you introduce this concept without straight up lying! I think we're going to tell her it's just something fun to pretend, but not to spoil it for other kids who really believe. We'll see when we get there... Your Hershey Kiss story is adorable; I'm sorry you were crushed, though!!

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