Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, Mari and Lila—There Is A Santa Claus

This is how it’s gonna go down in the Millner/Chiles household from now on and forever more: Any kid who comes to my house talking about “There is no Santa Claus” will not be invited back until June, when nobody’s thinking about Christmas.

Nothing personal.

I just don’t need your kid ruining it for my kids.

On the real, my kids believe in Santa Claus—period. The red suit. The jolly laugh. The reindeer and the sleigh and the jingle bells and all of the reindeer—especially Rudolph. All of that.

And for this, I’m grateful. Because I’m a firm believer that children should be allowed to be children—that the magic and sanctity of being a kid should be respected and protected as long as humanly possible. In my house, letting my babies believe in Santa preserves that sanctity—helps them hold on to the magic of Christmas, and their childhood, just a little while longer.

Around this time of year, that magic sparkles. We’ve been making home made presents, eating festive cupcakes, and blasting Christmas music—classic offerings from Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Dianne Reeves, Will Downing, Tony Bennett, Faith, James Brown, and Stevie, and a bunch of new ones by Brian McKnight and Harry Connick. Last night, the girls were upstairs singing Donny Hathaway's “This Christmas” while they made “Santa Soup” on the play kitchen Santa brought them last year (the kitchen is the showpiece in their “restaurant,” which they lovingly christened “Lacey’s Grill.” No, I have no clue who in the world Lacey is.) Lila wore her blue tutu dress to the grand opening, and sang while she took my order. The “Santa Soup” was divine.

Seriously, can it get any better than that? They’re excited, you know? Bouncing around. Giddy. Because Santa is coming to town.

Here’s what’s also real in our household, though: My kids know that Jesus is the reason for the season. After they inspect their gifts from the big guy, we make breakfast together and, after Grace, we sing “Happy Birthday” to Him (the Stevie Wonder version, of course), and then remind each other how blessed we are to be surrounded by a beautiful, loving, close-knit family. That right there? That’s the true gift of Christmas—a gift that’s with us every single day of the year.

And Santa? He’s the icing on the cake for my babies—the cake that’s served only once a year, for one day.

Now, I’m not knocking the parents who tell their kids there is no Santa—what you do in your house, what you tell your kids is between you and yours. But please, before you send your kid to my place, have the talk with her—the one where you explain that people have the right to their beliefs, and that sometimes, those beliefs don’t necessarily jibe with everyone else’s, and so it’s best that maybe we keep the whole “Santa isn’t real” talk to ourselves.

Especially if you want to see Mari and Lila around the holidays.

Otherwise, they’ll send you a nice “we sure do miss you” note.

Speaking of notes, my ace, Melanie, over at Lucky Paperie, sent over the most adorable stationery for Lila and Mari, and some really beautiful note cards for their teachers’ Christmas gifts. Brava, Mel!

She’s also going to be sending two lucky MyBrownBaby readers—Stacey at The Blessed Nest, and Gina at Queen Rabbit's Realm, custom stationery the two won in last week’s Lucky Paperie giveaway. Congrats, my loves—I know Melanie is going to send you something breathtakingly beautiful.

AND, my girls over at ESSENCE are looking for super moms--African-American working mothers who manage to balance having a great career with their responsibilities to family. Want to share your secrets to success with the most well-read magazine for and about black women? Find out how here.

Until next week… * snaps fingers and hums “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”—the Jackson 5 version, of course *

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  1. Thank you so much for saying it! Someone finally said it! I belive in Santa Claus, still believe in Santa Claus and want my kids to believe in him as well. Believing in him was/is fun. It was an adventure. A lot of my happiest, richest, most vivid memories of my childhood come from believing in him. The reindeer food my grandmother made (colorful glitter and oatmeal), the reindeer tracks on the roof that my grampy made for me to see out the window on Christmas morn, that feeling in the air, the varying scents that surrounded me and Donny Hathaway. I want my children to have that and more So yes, Santa comes to this house every year.

  2. Denene, you know I've been on the frontlines of this crusade right along with you since the season came upon us. Luckily, we have not had any "spoiler alerts" at the Mercado home, but I'm ready. At 35, I've had a husband longer than I had a father, I've been a mother longer than I'd been a child. These things and more have taught me the value of preserving childhood of preserving dreams, of believing in Santa Claus.

  3. Brava Denene! I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    I just now that in their heart of hearts, most adults wish that Santa Claus was real.

  4. You spoke my mind!! My little 13-year-old cousin told my son that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, that his Mom and Dad take his teeth and leave money. I had to check her and do damage control by asking him, "How does she know? Has she ever seen them?" NO! So, you get to decide, but I don't think she knows what she's talking about. *And* my son's father's girlfriend's daughter (whew...blended familyish thing) told him she wasn't "even going to get into where babies come from." Lawd! At first, I thought I was good. He knows the basics. It's in a Mommy's tummy and it comes out her "vajeena...I mean vagina." (his words) But, she had to take it a step further, "No, I mean how they're made. I'm not even going to get into that with you." While we're hanging Christmas tree ornaments! So, now, I gotta go get a book and have the talk, because I'm not leaving it up to Daddy.

    Anyway, I digress...I am with you on this one...See you in the summer kiddie!

  5. VCS Mama,

    RE: Where babies come from: Sorry girl... that's just wrong.

  6. I still believe in Santa Claus! It makes me sad when parents don't let their children believe in magic and goodness. Enjoy the holidays and thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

  7. That's great that you all do both. So many people get wrapped up in the Santa, presents, carols, sleighride that they NEVER mention the reason for the season. That was my whole beef with Santa (taking shine away from, but I'm learning to let it go :)


  8. Amen! My kids believe too! I already had to uninvite some friends for this reason.

  9. it's so funny because i was just about to revisit my "i don't do santa claus" post that i wrote last year on my blog and here you are cheering for the ol' guy.

    hey, i say to each his/her own. but geesh, i guess we'll never be invited to your house for Christmas! haha... Lord knows i can't get dutch to keep his big mouth closed for nothin'! :)

  10. I absolutely agree! Kids should be able to enjoy beig kids! I love that my kids believe in Santa! I LOVE seeing their faces light up when we talk about it sweet...

  11. I smiled as I read this post because I AGREE! My kids believe in Santa and I'm bugged every time our 10 yo neighbor boy tries to convince them of the contrary!

  12. Hi! Thanks for stopping at my blog. I've found a few others named Mari through blogging and am always happy to see another!

  13. You are priceless! I can just see you talking when you tell a's like we're in a room together over a cup of coffee or drink of choice. I love that you want the magic to last for your kids. They are lucky to have a mom who understands magic exists!

  14. I love your Santa. I agree kids should be kids as long as possible. Mine don't believe in Santa anymore. My oldest figured it out based on wrapping paper in the closet being found under the tree:(. Anyway, we kept it up for the youngest until last year. She cornered me with too many questions, finally I had to admit that mommy and daddy were Santa. Maybe she'll still ask for cookies to be left for Santa, but I don't think she will.

    I loved this post. It's important for kids to have all the magic of a childhood.

  15. I was raised in a "No-Believing-In-Santa" household and quite frankly...that sucked! My parents did at least tell us that other people had their own beliefs and that we were to keep our big mouths shut on the topic. It was up to each parent as to when their children should be told.

    Since I wasn't allowed to believe in Santa...I really, really wanted my children to experience that magic. And I love it! The sparkle and excitement in their eyes when they first come down the steps and see what Santa left them...completely priceless! And yet we always go out of our way to talk about and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas as well.

    Unfortunately for us, our neighbors (whom we really, truly love to death) have taught their kids that there is no Santa and encourage their kids to let everyone else know that. Grrrr! I finally made a "no-talking-about-Santa" rule when we are carpooling to school. It drives me crazy! Bless their hearts though, my little ones still believe. They could care less what the neighbor kids say. :)

  16. We LOVE our Jackson 5 Christmas CD. The beginning of the season I always stress trying to remember where I placed it last year. When I seen this blog I thought of one of my favorite books I read to the kids each year. "Twas the Night Before Christmas: The African American Version" by Melodye Rosales. The illustrations are beautiful and the dialect will make any reader chuckle with delight.

  17. I love this post. We've had a hard time getting into the season's spirit this year and I realize how sad that is when I read about wonderful family traditions all over the web. Keep the magic alive!

  18. In our house the rule is: If you don't BELIEVE you don't RECEIVE. there.

    loved the post.

  19. Denene, I could not have said it better. Let our children be kids as long as they can. As parents we need to protect their innocence. I remember not being able to fall asleep, waiting for Santa to come.


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