One of the many things to which I devote entirely too much time overanalyzing is Santa Claus. I'm torn on the whole thing. I hate the deception, but treasure the magic. I love dialing up the ReindeerCam and squealing when the BigMan turns up to put on a show, but I hate the inherent threat (Santa doesn't watch my kids sleep or weigh their merit based on a behavior evaluation before determining whether they deserve the earned reward of love). I'm conflicted, and more than a decade into this parenting gig, I still haven't really developed a policy with which I'm completely comfortable.
But we do Santa, in some custom form. And part of my Santa policy with them is that Santa gets them items from their wish list that I have either said no to, or seem unlikely to buy. That's what makes Santa awesome. He overrides disappointment and lets them dream beyond the practical. Or something like that. If Mom says no, ask Santa!
T has been pining hard for the Eleventh Doctor's sonic screwdriver. Obsessing. Talking nonstop. So of course, Santa bought it for him and plans for it to be his spotlight gift (the Most Wanted, not necessarily the Most Expensive) and Mom has been waging a frown-and-sigh campaign of "I don't know honey, it's so expensive...". (which it isn't, but so far he's only quietly raised an eyebrow. I keep thinking he's on the cusp of deciding to not play the game...and being wrong.)
Then last night C pulled me aside and said that he wants to get it for T for Christmas. My initial reaction was resistance. This will throw Santa's plan out of whack--with the spotlight gift out of the way, there are no real contenders among the supporting Santa gifts to be that "WOW" moment first thing on Christmas morning. I brushed him off with a comment about "expensive" (Seriously, I'm cheap and my kids have learned that quoting prices is my go-to shutdown for any conversation.) He countered that he will give me the money he has saved and pay back the rest in installments each allowance day.
And then I stopped and really thought about what was going on here.
It has always been important to me to model GIVING at Christmas. Instead of just throwing the kids' names on gifts for other family members, I involve them in the shopping process and often let them choose things on their own. They have learned from many years of watching both their father and me crafting, that making a gift for a loved one entails a special value just in the doing. And I plan to eventually wrap up these half-assed Santa years by explaining the Man in Red as an extension of the joy of giving, as the anonymity allows you to focus on the receiver, not the giver.
And my son wants more than anything to give his brother this year's Golden Ticket. The Red Ryder of Christmas wishes. THE. GIFT.
That's the best gift I've received this holiday season. I doubt anything will top it.