My daughters don’t believe in Santa Claus. They never have. That’s mostly because my wife and I are evil and we told them from the very beginning that Santa Claus wasn’t real. (If this is news to you, please accept my apologies for breaking the news in such a heartless way.) We made sure they knew that many people like to pretend that Santa is real. And, since we don’t want to ruin their fun, we shouldn’t tell other kids the truth about Santa. The last thing we wanted to deal with were a bunch of angry parents wanting to know why our kindergartener had ruined their holiday traditions.
Although I like how we’ve handled the Santa Claus issue, and I wouldn’t want to do it differently, it’s hard not to notice that my daughters never approached Christmas with the same kind of anxious anticipation as other children. There were no eager questions about “When will Santa be here?” or whispers of “I think I hear him.” An element of expectation comes with the story of Santa Claus that has a nearly irresistible sense of childish delight. And, when he’s finally arrived, all of that pent up expectation–all the anxious hours of waiting, all the uncertainties and anxieties–explode in the delighted yell, “He came!”
To some degree, that’s what the Advent season is all about.