All the Lies I’ve Added to Santa’s Story

I absolutely love Christmas, and this year I am in that fleeting time frame wherein all three of my children wholeheartedly believe in Santa. It is pure magic. But magic, I’ve learned, is a tricky thing– especially when all three children egg each other on to bigger and bolder Santa dreams. I’ve got a kid who wants 1,000 pieces of every LEGO ever made. I’ve got another kid who wants a live unicorn to raise in our backyard. Needless to say, without some intervention, they’re going to have a seriously disappointing and possibly losing-faith-in-Santa Christmas.

I’m not going to lie to you, because I save most of my lies for my children. I mean, don’t we all? Like when it’s 11:00 a.m. and we’re about to go home and have lunch and they ask if the ice cream shop we’re passing is open? No, it most certainly is not open! In fact, ice cream shops aren’t even open at all on Tuesdays. That neon light that says “OPEN” in their window must be broken. Weird!

So while I’d like to say it’s against every fiber of my being to lie to my children about Santa’s magical capabilities, let’s face it, it’s an average Tuesday. In fact, I feel exceptionally good about lying (more) about Santa, because tradition or not, he’s already the biggest and most elaborate lie they all believe. What’s a little more lying to preserve that Christmas magic, am I right?

Here are just a few of the extras I’ve added to Saint Nick’s story this year:

1. There is a size limit on gifts. Look, that horse from Target that’s big enough to sit on is awesome, but you know what isn’t awesome? How much of our living room it will take up. Of course, my kids don’t care about our house looking like a toy-obsessed hoarder hut, so I’ve instead decided to tell them that there isn’t room in the sled for such a thing. It would steal room from other children’s presents. It would bring the sled down out of the sky. Santa has a bad back and would hurt himself carrying that thing down the chimney and Christmas would be cancelled. For the love of Christmas, no big gifts. Now if only I could get Grandma and Grandpa on board with this rule…

2. There are rules forbidding the exchange of magical creatures. When I try to broach the logical arguments for why we cannot raise a live unicorn in our backyard, they don’t really stick. Not enough room? My daughter disagrees. Climate not quite right? Don’t worry, says my daughter, her magical horn will keep her warm in the snow. So instead I “called Santa” and found out there is a rule which forbids the exchange of magical creatures as livestock. Who knew? Of course she now wants a baby dolphin…but hey, it’s progress right?

3. There is a Santa cam in the corner of our living room. There is, of course, not. It’s an old security system setup from the people who owned our home years ago that we still haven’t taken down. That’s another issue for another time. My kids, of course, buy that Santa “knows if you’ve been bad or good,” but apparently that’s too abstract to keep their behavior in check. They figure that the good and bad will balance out and they’ll end up on the nice list. So instead when they’re playing the butt-slapping game I specifically told them not to, I point to the camera and proceed with my threats.

Honestly, I should probably be ashamed and or concerned that my lying knows no bounds, but if it gets us through Christmas without breaking down and telling my kids that there is no Santa, I’ll take it.

Gemma Hartley is a freelance writer with a BA in writing from The University of Nevada, Reno. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Glamour, Women’s Health, Babble, Yahoo Parenting and more. She lives in Reno, NV with her husband, three young children, an awesome dog and a terrible cat.

Related articles