Saturday, December 5, 2009

2009 Virtual Advent Tour Day 6: The Toland's and Santa

The past few years, I have participated in the Blogger Virtual Advent tour. I've talked about some of our family traditions; some of the things that make the holidays special to the Toland Family. This year is going to be a little different.

For the past 13 years, Santa Claus has been a big part of the Christmas tradition for us. Yes, the kiddies know that Christmas is actually a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. But face it. With kids in the house, there is always the idea of Santa Claus! But I have a sinking feeling that this will be the last year for the man in the bright red suit. Chad, at 13, has spent the last few years actually helping me with the girls' presents. But this year, Miss Bella informed me she no longer believes. With Ana so close in age to Bella, I can see the end in sight.

There have been many years in the past, at 2 a.m., as I was stuffing stockings or putting together toys like the Princess Kitchen that I longed for the days for all the "sneaky" stuff to be over. Longed to be in bed at a civilized hour, sleeping like the rest of the family. But now that the time has come, I feel an overwhelming sadness that my kids are growing up. How has this happened? It seems like only yesterday we were standing in lines at the mall, Ana hiding behind my legs trying to get a glimpse of Santa Claus, too scared to actually sit on his lap unless I was there to hold her hand. Or Chad, big and brave, all ready to jump up on St. Nick's lap, with a smile on his face. Or Bella, with a HUGE list in hand, ready to let the jolly fat man know exactly what she wanted under the tree.

Every year, our school has a Santa Breakfast: pancake and sausage breakfast, Santa and Mrs. Claus sitting in big fat chairs handing out candy canes after listening to every child's wish list; crafts for the holidays, and lots of music. Yesterday, we attended probably our last. The girls were more interested in playing with their friends than sitting on Santa's lap (though the girls did make the effort, just in case!)

Every year we leave Santa a plate of cookies and milk (one year, I even suggested a sandwich and soda to wash it down...I think I missed out on Christmas Eve dinner because of work!) And every year, Rudolph gets a special treat as well. Usually an apple or a carrot, especially for him. Sometimes we sprinkle "reindeer" food outside the door. It's made with oatmeal and glitter, and looks so pretty on the snow. And if there is snow, always walking around outside in Mike's big boots, leaving a trail of footprints.

I love that my kids are getting older and we are able to enjoy our time together doing activities. And I'm sure that Christmas will be just as special for them, even if they don't believe in Santa any longer. The sadness will definitely be mine alone. If this is any indication of future events, I don't think I will gracefully accept the idea that my children are growing up!!


Here is a picture of Christmas past, we my little believers!

Don't forget to stop by the other Day 6 participants in this year's Advent tour:

Melissa @ Book Nut

Chris @ Stuff As Dreams are Made On

Lily @ Reading Extravaganza

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BLESSINGS TO ALL OF YOU!!

18 comments:

Kailana said...

In some ways I wish I still believed in Santa. lol When you were a little kid you stopped believing because everyone else did and it wasn't cool to believe anymore. Then, a few years go by and you wish you could be that kid that believed in the magic... I do hope you have a wonderful holiday season, though! Thanks for joining in for Virtual Advent!

readerbuzz said...

Having your kids grow up is always bittersweet. I must say it is a much simpler Christmas with grown kids.

Stop by my blog if you get a chance and take a look at my list of favorite children's Christmas picture books. A winter storm knocked out our Internet connection yesterday, so I ended up posting today.

www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com.

Aarti said...

That's a really lovely post, Stephanie. I like the idea of reindeer food, especially food that has GLITTER in it. So creative! I hope you enjoy one of the last few Santa-filled Christmases you might have until grandkids!

Melissa said...

Oh, I'm not looking forward to when my kids get old enough. Though, honestly: growing up, as long as there were kids at home Santa came. And when the grandkids come to visit, Santa still comes. Yeah, we all *know*, but you know what? It's still special and magical and fun. (Even if it's only to make my parents happy.)

Amanda said...

My boys are getting really close to the age where there will no longer be any need for Santa, too, but we always get each other Santa gifts anyway. :)

Michelle said...

Christmas is just not the same when you stop believing in Santa. I remember when it happened for me, it lost some of its magic. Getting up early to open presents was rather dumb, and I much preferred taking a shower and getting dressed before opening them up - just in case there were going to be pictures.

Last year, Connor told me he thought Santa was Jim and me. I never confirmed nor denied, but I did warn him that he was not to share his doubts with his sister. At age 8, it just seemed too early to lose this belief. He seems to have evaluated his position this year and has said that he was wrong last year. I don't know if I believe him, but it makes me feel better to continue to pretend, if only for my sake. Like you, I am not ready to give up this part of their childhood. Here's to at least ONE more year of Santa!

Kathleen said...

I can still remember being sad when my son discovered that Santa wasn't real. But holidays are just as special without that belief so don't worry!

Veronica said...

Even if they don't believe the way they did when they were little, there's still a belief in the spirit of Santa Clause. It's not quite the same, but it's there. My sisters and I are all in our 20s and when we come home for Christmas, we STILL wake up to Santa Clause presents. :)

Chris said...

Such a bittersweet post. I can imagine that it must be rough to see your kids grow up. On the one hand, like you said, it's nice to be able to just put the gifts under the tree, but on the other hand, I know you'll miss that magic twinkle in their eyes...but you know what? That twinkle never really goes away on Christmas morning! Me and my sis are still like 5 year olds on Christmas morning, lol. And my mom still puts "from, Santa" on the tags :p

Julia Smith said...

It's definitely a maturing milestone to realize who is acting out the spirit of giving. But I can say for myself that my own belief in Santa is unshakable. Really enjoyed discovering your family's Santa traditions.

Carl V. said...

Awww, I'm sorry for your pending bittersweet departure with the kids believing in Santa. I look back on that time of my own life with great fondness and am glad for the experience. I'm sure your kids will be as well and as they grow older they will appreciate the traditions you have established for them.

sprite said...

Awww! How bittersweet!

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm not going to play this year but I'm loving reading every one elses! Great Santa story. I can't remember when I realized it was my mom and dad leaving the Christmas gifts but when I did I wanted to help! My little brother believed for a long time I do remember that though :)

Jenn said...

Awwww, what a cute picture. Even though your kids are getting older, I am sure they will always appreciate the effort you put into Christmas. I know I always appreciate my Mom's!

Louise said...

Happy Holidays to you and your family and I wish that Santa will at least visit this year :-) Enjoy the festivities and thanks for a lovely post.

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Cat said...

I honestly don't remember when I stopped believing or why but my parents always said I was so earnest about it when I told them I didn't think he was real anymore and that I was sort of sad to let that idea go.

Even now though, some Christmas eves I still listen for bells and hooves on the roof. I'm a kid at heart.

Clover said...

Aww.. sadness. I still remember when I found out 'the truth' - I was 7 and my older brother (who was 9 at the time) shouted and then laughed 'you still believe Santa is real!' when we were playing outside with friends. Everyone else laughed as well. I remember going inside and crying on my bed because I *did* still believe. Until then.