*If someone in your family believes in Santa Claus don't let them read this and don't read it aloud.*
Freddy T. and I never really made a formal decision on how we were going to handle Santa Claus. One Sunday last Christmas the teachers in Gallery Kid told us that when asked "What is Christmas all about?", Jack told them Santa Claus. When they told him it was all about Jesus, he firmly stood by his Santa Claus answer. So Freddy T. tried to talk to him about it last year and they got into a friendly debate, Jesus vs. Santa Claus. Freddy T. finally told Jack that Santa Claus was pretend. It was kind of a knee jerk reaction, but the truth nonetheless. He shared with Jack that Mommy and Daddy are the ones who give him presents under the tree and that Santa Claus was fun to talk about and fun to pretend with, but that's what it was... pretend.
Jack was so adamant that Santa Claus was real, a hard core believer, we really didn't think he heard a word about Christmas being about Jesus and the truth about Santa Claus. So one day last Christmas, while we were in TN, Jack and Patton, our nephew who was in Kindergarten at the time (and a SC believer), were in the car with Freddy T.'s mom. While they were riding down the road Jack looked at Patton and said, "Patton, you know Santa Claus is not real, it's just pretend and it's really your Mommy and Daddy!" It still makes me laugh. I wish I could have seen the look on Mary Coleman's face as she hears her 2 year old grandson saying this to her 6 year old grandson. I think Patton thought Jack didn't know what he was talking about because he was just a 2 year old. That was the end of the conversation and to my knowledge it was not mentioned again.
On a side note. We have no problem with anyone who chooses to believe in Santa Claus at their house (we even took our kids to see him this year). I did as a kid and loved it! This is just how our family is handling it. And it's not my desire to have my kids spoil it for any other children. Part of what is so funny to me about Jack and Patton's conversation is the fact that Jack was listening to every word. We had no idea! And if you could have heard Mary Coleman telling the story at a Christmas party last year, it was pretty funny!
Don't be discouraged though. The spirit of Santa Claus is alive and well in this household. Jack has not stopped talking about him since last Christmas. He asked multiple times through out the year to watch Christmas movies, but I would not let him till November. He has talked about it with our friends. My friend Rachel was over one afternoon back in September and Santa Claus came up in conversation. She asked Jack about him and Jack said, "My Daddy says he's pretend, but I think he is real!"
We are making some progress this year. We've been talking a lot about Baby Jesus and Jack is beginning to understand that it is in fact ALL about Jesus and he'll tell you Santa Claus is just pretend, but his imagination runs wild with thoughts of the big, jolly guy. As I wrote few posts ago, Jack was upset at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade because the real Santa Claus was not there. The real one would have come out of the sky, not on a float.
So, all of that said to bring you our final Christmas decoration. A few mornings ago Jack brought our family together and shared this,"We have a problem. We don't have a chimney in our apartment and Santa Claus is too big to fit in our front door. We have to build one!" And he proceeded to give us all jobs. Who am I to crush his imagination? If the kid wants a chimney, then we will find a way to have a chimney in our apartment. My mind started spinning. I'm not an artist, but I like a challenge like the one Jack gave us. Brenda, an intern at church who has helped me once a week this semester, was coming over that day so I could run errands, so it was the perfect chance to gather our supplies. I bought paint and felt and 3 little stockings. That afternoon I dug cardboard out of the recycling room in our building and began construction. I spent 2 days, when I had a chance, to work on the chimney. The second day Jack helped me a lot. He painted all the red and black (I had already painted it white and taped everything off so he just had to cover it with red). I made the mantle, cut the flames out of felt, put names on the stocking, and gathered a few sticks. Once the paint was dry we hung it up and put the finishing touches on it. He loves it and so do Lillie and Elliott. It adds a little cozy piece to our tiny hallway. And best of all, we have a chimney for Santa Claus!
Since we already have stockings with our names on them we gave Brandon (an intern/Gallery Administrator who lives with us) one of these stockings and of course the animals Jack sleeps with, and who are very dear to him, need stockings, so Lucky and Puppet are sharing one and Monkey and Puppy have the other.
Lillie and Elliott stare at the "fire" and say, "hot, hot, hot!"