A couple of months ago, our dog Digger lost a tooth and so the kids decided to put it in a bag and put it under their pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Later that night, after I had slipped the tooth away and was in the process of slipping a bone under Benjamin’s pillow, he suddenly woke up, looked at me then quickly lifted the pillow. In that moment that he looked at me, I was able to quickly slide my arm away without him noticing, and, for now, the Tooth Fairy remains alive for them.
So, when we got to Christmas Eve, I was nauseous with nervousness on the boys discovering Santa’s true identity. In our house, Santa doesn’t just drop off presents. He also decorates the hallway outside the kids room with lights as well as does other things in the backyard, just outside their window. He also, with the help of the Christmas Cardinal, decorated the Christmas tree in the kids room. So, there is a lot of room for mistakes.
Since the kids were old enough to understand, we have been extremely careful. We have special paper that is used just for Santa’s gifts, as well as ribbon. We have a red “Santa’s Bag” that we keep well out of reach of the kids that contains all our tools of the trade. When we wrap, we carefully collect all the little scraps and make sure they go deep into a garbage bag, which immediately goes into the trash cans outside. Presents are well hidden in the basement and we carefully monitor the boys approach of the basement door.
As we go through all of this, I start to use all the “knowledge” I’ve gained from watching CSI and CSI: New York. I analyze the scenes for little mistakes: a tiny scrap of paper, something that would identify Andrea and I as Santa, even footprints in the snow (after I finished hanging candy can lights in the tree in the backyard after the new snow fall, I dragged a rake over my footprints and made a crazy pattern in the snow). As I got closer to their room and more and more stuff got set up, I was cleaning up behind me so that I could jump into bed if they woke up. I had cover stories in my head in case I messed something up and they caught me in the act. I left nothing to chance, but it was so very stressful…and successful.
However, I love every moment of it. I know there is probably just another two or three years of this for them, probably even shorter for Ben (I feel he may connect the dots next year). I don’t know who will be more heartbroken when then discover the truth behind Santa. I love Christmas so much and actually creating Christmas magic for them…well, it makes me really feel like Santa. So, the thought of no longer being able to do that just makes me want to hold on to these years that much more.