As moms, we tend to cling desperately to those magical years when Santa is real and a stuffed elf does anything but sit on a shelf. But our children grow older and we are faced with the changing landscape of the holidays. Do we tell them the “truth,” or do we assume they know already? Do we cross our fingers and hope their peers don’t make fun of them for fervently believing? Or do we adopt the policy of my college roommate’s mom and double down – even into adulthood – saying “if you don’t believe, you won’t receive?”
I’ve been hit hard with holiday fatigue. I’ve grown tired of the charade after 13 years of being the sole person in our home responsible for curating this magic. Surely I’m not alone in this, but when I look around all I see are enviable elf displays and empty nesters reminding me how quickly this time passes.
Is It Time?
With my oldest on her way to high school and my two younger children headed to middle school, I wrestled with the decision this year. Is it time? I knew my holiday may be easier without having to orchestrate such a well-protected secret, but I wondered if I’d regret having stopped the ruse. There’s something terrifying about knowing your home won’t be filled with that whimsical atmosphere that comes with little hearts filled with wonder.
But let’s be honest – at nearly 11 years old, most children have already become skeptics. The wholesome magic we remain so nostalgic for had begun to vanish in a way that was so gradual that we didn’t realize how differently it felt from those kindergarten days. It was time.
As nervous as I was for their reactions, I was equally as anxious about my own. But at the end of the day, they took it in stride. “Mom, we pretty much already knew.” And they were excited to be in on the secret and help spread that Christmas cheer to their younger cousins.
And me? I felt … relief. This burden was no longer mine to shoulder alone. I had helpers now to join me in creating the enchantment. Christmas remains special in our home, but with a new sense of levity. It’s almost as if we all share something far more special than before.
A New Kind of Magic
As scary as it was to take that plunge, there’s a relaxed feeling in our home that I didn’t realize I’d been missing before now. Might I miss those days when they were so young and filled with wonder? Most certainly. But as we begin this new chapter, I remind myself that we all view the past through rose colored glasses.
While I remember the excited gasp of my toddler seeing Christmas lights, I’ve forgotten the tantrum they threw waiting in line for Santa. As I lament the days spreading “reindeer food” in the yard, I now enjoy meltdown-free shopping trips. For every fond memory I hold dear in my heart, there’s an added perk of having these mini-adults to share the season with. And thanks to the two hours you spent waiting in line to see Santa at the mall with a whiny toddler, you’ll have plenty of photos on hand to reminisce over the magic of those days!
No one can decide the right time for your family but you. You’re the only one who knows the best method to break the news (or not!) Just know that when you do decide that the time has come, there’s a whole new kind of joy that awaits you – and there’s a bit of magic in that, too!