Whenever I read How the Grinch Stole Christmas to my sons, I always marvel at how the Grinch “thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick.” I am not nearly so sly when my two sons ask me questions—especially this time of year.
For example, when explaining the reason behind CMEE’s Holiday Drive, my five-year-old acted like I was making things far more complicated than they needed to be: “Why don’t the children just ask Santa to bring them presents?” I stumbled and fumbled my way through an answer, telling him that some families move (and Santa Claus doesn’t have their new address) and still other people just don’t believe in Santa Claus. I finally settled on the idea that it’s just as much fun to give a gift than it is to receive one. He accepted my response, but I could tell that he was still a little skeptical.
Last year, when we rode the Santa Train from East Hampton to Montauk (which they didn’t believe for a second was the North Pole) they asked me why Santa looked so much like Kevin from the Museum. “Did he really,” I asked. “Yes, he was wearing the same glasses and he sounded like him, too.” It’s hard to get anything by them.
Another question that continues to befuddle me: Does Santa Claus make his own presents or does he buy them from a store? I was definitely not as perceptive as my boys are. I believed the story about elves making presents at the North Pole. It never occurred to me that Santa’s “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots” were the exact same ones that Sears advertised in its holiday catalog.
When I was little and asked my mother questions about Santa, elves, reindeer, or the North Pole, she almost always replied with, “Well, what do you think?” I hated the response as a child (since it’s not an answer!), but as a parent, I’ve come to appreciate it. She didn’t lie to me and she gave me the opportunity to continue believing. Not a bad “grinchy” trick.