Christmas is a magical time of year, isn't it? It's especially magical when you have a preschooler in the house. She's old enough to get what's going on but young enough to believe anything.... or so I thought.

The REAL Santa in 2015
The REAL Santa in 2015

Our tradition is that every year, we purchase toys for 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays toy drive for sick kids in the hospital. Since my company works with organizations like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and 911 Gives Hope quite a bit, she's always been exposed to helping sick kids and she holds a special place in her heart for "the sick babies." She really enjoys buying Barbies, delivering them to the toy drive, and then seeing (the real) Santa.

Last night, we popped into the library to pick up a new load of books. I can't stand rereading the same stories over and over until my brain turns into a Jell-O jiggler so a bi-weekly visit to the library alleviates the coagulation. The very sweet librarian asked if we were staying to see Santa and partake in cookies and milk. #nononono

The REal Santa 2014
Hiding from the REAL Santa 2014

Then, the scores of children dressed in their totes adorbs matchy matchy pajamas came rolling in. I took a look at my raggamuffin who was dressed in grey sweats and had a rogue bobby pin holding back her unbrushed hair. "Do you want to see Santa?" Did I really think she'd say, "No thanks, ma... I've already overdone it on the holiday eating. I'll save the cookies and milk for another day." Psh...

So, I agreed to stay and we enjoyed a fun story and some jingle bell music time. Then, the big announcement came. HE was there! The big jolly man in a bright red suit. All the children were excited. All except one... mine...

My daughter was quiet and eyeballed the "bearded fellow." Finally, she looked at me and in a very loud voice said, "THAT'S NOT THE REAL SANTA. THAT'S A PRETEND SANTA." Oh shoot... (I thought a very different word.)

The REAL Santa 2013
The REAL Santa 2013

I quickly and quietly took my child aside and explained that Santa is super busy this time of year and he can only make one trip to Indiana. He did that at the toy drive. But, some of the little kids couldn't make it out that day and he had so send a stunt double. I mean there was no denying that the guy with a fake beard and orthopedic black tennis shoes wasn't the real Santa. The real Santa has a reindeer walking stick, real sleigh bells, and even the magic key. Oh and he also has a real beard and boots.

So, I went with it... And, I asked her to keep quiet so we didn't ruin it for "the little kids." Where did MY little kid go? I also asked if she wanted to stay in line and take a photo or talk to him. She reluctantly agreed but when we got to the Santa, she went into full stranger danger mode. I fully expected her to yell, "You aren't the REAL Santa! You smell like beef and cheese! You sit on a throne of lies!" Instead, she hid behind me and muffled something about being a pretend Santa. We hurried out the door.

The REAL Santa 2012
Our first trip to visit the REAL Santa 2012

When we got to the car, I asked her how she knew. She matter-of-factly told me that she was smart. Like, "Duh, mom. Anyone with eyes can see this guy is a big fake-o."
So, it's only a matter of time until the innocence will be completely lost. Until then, we'll wait for the real Santa who makes his yearly trip to help the sick babies, and has a real beard.

If you want to see the real Santa at 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays, he'll be at available at the East Side Walmart at the following times:

  • Friday December 1st 10A-5P
  • Saturday December 2nd 1P-6P
  • Sunday December 3rd 10A-5P


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