My heart began to beat faster and faster. I was not ready to have this conversation. My husband and I had always agreed that when the kids asked questions, we weren’t going to lie to them. No matter what the question, we would be straightforward and give them the age-appropriate answers they were seeking.
But how was I going to answer this question?
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love all the magic it brings. Our Elf on the Shelf, Chippy, and his sister Princess LovElfie visit us every year during the Christmas season and sometimes throughout the year on special days. The elves appeared in the NICU right after having our fourth baby. They appear at Nana’s house at Thanksgiving. And once, when Uncle Doug accidentally bumped our beloved Chippy, we were able to heal our little elf and give him back his magic by sprinkling cinnamon all around the place where he laid.
So, when I heard that dreaded question I saw all the magic scenes of Christmas begin to disappear in front of me. My stomach sank. And I settled in for an honest conversation.
Wrapping my arms around a 7-year-old, who seemed far too young for this talk, I realized this was an amazing opportunity.
We talked about the historical St. Nicolas and his love for helping others. We discussed how we keep Christmas magic alive by helping others, spreading love, and spending time together.
And then I congratulated him and welcomed him into a very secret, very exclusive club!
I explained that this club is for those who have the strongest belief in Christmas magic. We are the chosen few who get to carry on the Santa tradition. We wrap presents, take bites out of cookies on Christmas Eve, and sneak around the house when no one is looking. We help the Elf on the Shelf play hide and seek and carry out mischief. And we get to be the secret keepers. After all, the first rule of The Secret Club is that you do not talk about The Secret Club.
Most importantly, we talked about how true Christmas magic is all around us.
I told him about the year we were struggling with hospitalizations, medical bills, and job loss. We came home from a busy day and found an abundance of presents under our tree from a few caring people who loved us dearly.
I told him about the day I saw a little girl walking by Santa in the mall. He began to talk to her and she didn’t respond. Her mom explained to Santa that the little girl was hard of hearing. So, using true Christmas magic, Santa looked at the sweet little girl and began to use sign language. I watched her eyes light up and glisten in the lights from the Christmas tree as she had a silent conversation with Santa.
In the end, my son and I decided that true Christmas magic is all around us if we just allow ourselves to see it. And, since the spirit of Santa carries with it the ultimate Christmas magic, we were able to answer that now not-so-dreaded question together.