“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine.
Immediately, my heart sank.
This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.
I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on the couch so many years ago. It was the first time I really explained Santa Claus to him, and it’s a core memory that will be etched into my mind and heart forever.
Since then, we’ve done it all. We’ve visited Santa and written letters and welcomed our Elves on the Shelf every year. We’ve made cookies to leave out and watched Rudolph on repeat and had countless conversations about what it would be like to visit the North Pole.
Together, we’ve spent each December soaking up every bit of Christmas magic we can.
And now, here we are. The questions have begun, and if I’m being honest I don’t really know how to answer most of them. But one thing I do know is that I’m not ready for the magic to stop for our boy.
I want him to make this year’s Santa request with a heart full of hope. I want him to greet our elves with the enthusiasm of long-lost family members who come around every holiday season.
I want him to experience the wonder of searching the sky for a sleigh as we drive home from Christmas Eve dinner. I want him to lay cozy in his bed, breathlessly listening for reindeer hooves on the roof.
I want him to have so much excitement on Christmas morning that he can hardly contain himself. Wake up, guys! Did he come? Did the reindeer eat the carrots? Are there any cookies left?
I want him to believe for a little while longer before the world tells him not to.
Truthfully, maybe that’s what makes me the most sad about this transition. Maybe it’s not even about the existence of a jolly guy in a red suit.
It’s about childhood. Magic. Innocence.
Something to believe in that transcends all the hard stuff reality throws at us as we go through life. That hope seems more important than ever, and I don’t want him to lose it. Not now. Not just yet.
I know the day is coming sooner–so much sooner–than I’d like that we’ll have to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about Santa Claus with our son.
Logically, I understand it’s a natural part of growing up, and I know Christmas will still be wonderful in a million other ways.
He’ll be the best Santa’s helper when the time comes, and his creativity and big heart will find new ways to make the holidays come alive for his younger brother and sister. Sharing that with him will be special, I know, but my mama heart still aches at the thought of him being in on the secret.
So my own Christmas wish this year is for just a little more time.
Just one more year of milk and cookies and letters and stockings and awe.
One more year of listening for sleigh bells as we cuddle by the fire.
One more year of littleness before our boy says goodbye to this part of childhood forever.
“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa, Mom,” he said.
I took a deep breath and replied, “That makes me sad for him, honey. There’s so much magic in Christmas.”
What I didn’t tell him is that the magic doesn’t come from a man in a red suit—it comes from the joy of being his mama.
And because of that, I know I’ll always find so much beauty in this season.