Our family Christmas this year is being held at my daughter’s house. After my marathon of gift wrapping, she picked up all the presents and took them home to store under her Christmas tree. Needless to say she had lots of help unloading the boxes, the kids eager to see if their names were on any of the brightly coloured packages.
There are just some gifts, no matter what you wrap them in, the contents are easily guessed. Bottles of wine, for an example.
As she put a gift under the tree, one with her name, my daughter guessed it was a tool box. Last summer she had expressed a wish for her own tools, and I remembered her comment.
Home Hardware carries a set of pink coloured tools, with some percentage of sales going to Breast Cancer Research. When I went to purchase the tools I knew I had missed the deadline for the sale, but the people at Home Hardware gave me the tools at the sale price anyway. The woman even told me that the tool box, which I had not intended to buy, would be on sale the next week, and she’d give me that at the sale price too. Needless to say, I bought the set, a birthday present and another Christmas gift, showing that good public relations is beneficial for sales.
My five year old grandson was surprised his mother would be receiving a tool box, his thinking a bit sexist already I’m afraid to say, like women wouldn’t need or want tools.
It must have intrigued him though, for he went back to the present, and whether he ripped a bit of the paper, or it tore taking it out of the box, he peeked.
His beliefs were confirmed. He went back to his mother, told her confidently it was not a tool box. “How do you know?” she asked.
“The paper ripped and I could see what’s inside. It can’t be a tool box. It’s pink.”
Don’t you just love the logic of children?
I remember another story of a child’s reasoning. My kids were about seven and eight when they came running in the door in a state of anxiety. “Trevor says there is no Tooth Fairy, no Easter Bunny, and no Santa Claus. Trevor says the parents do it all.”
Damn you Trevor, I thought. Why is it when one child’s beliefs are blown, they feel the need to let their friends in on their disenchantment.
I managed to calm my children, the tooth fairy just wanted to celebrate when a child lost their baby teeth, and okay, they accepted that. So, on to Easter. I explained that the Easter Bunny was a way for them to celebrate Easter, because they were too young to understand the religious aspects of the holiday.
I was trying to figure out how I could explain Christmas; the religious holiday bit would not satisfy a second time.
Before I could answer my son piped up. “I knew it wasn’t you,” he said. “Santa gave us our wands, and you couldn’t have done that.”
I agreed and we never talked about the existence of Santa ever again.
Funny thing, the wands he spoke of I found in a tiny little store, underground at a subway stop, and bought them immediately. I was heading home after a doctor’s appointment downtown, had taken the subway rather than drive and fight the city traffic. I couldn’t resist, because I’d never seen anything like them.
Every year at Christmas I would add something unusual to the kids’ Santa stocking, something they had never seen before. That year it was the wands. About twelve inches long, the plastic tubes looked like a magician’s wand, but these were filled with coloured liquid, stars, glitter and shiny sequins. As you tipped them side to side, the contents inside floated…like magic.
Santa was like the Great and Powerful Oz, in their eyes, he could do anything. And me, I was just a mother; they didn’t see my magic, and their belief in the wonder and joy of the holiday remained intact, at least for a little while longer.