Spitzit’s House

Where serious topics come to relax

The Secret Society of Santas – A Guide on Letting Your Kids In On The Secret of Santa Claus

santa-claus-arrived

I love Christmas time and everything about it. For years I have gone to great lengths to immerse myself in the spirit of the holidays and to make lasting memories for my children so that they may carry on with the traditions that I had started. Therefore, it has always been very important to me that they know and believe that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ…but it was equally important to me that they know and believe in Santa Claus. So much so that for the last 8 years I have dressed in full Santa Claus regalia and toiled around in my living room on Christmas Eve, lit only by the dim lights on the Christmas Tree, snacking on cookies and milk, while my children quietly peeked from their bedroom doors and the stairs thinking that they were secretly spying on Santa Claus while he ate their cookies and stuffed their stockings. The first year I did it, my wife said that my daughter was so excited after spying on Santa Claus that she could not stop shaking when she got back in bed. I don’t care what anyone says, this is Christmas greatness.

Now, before anyone gets their religious feathers ruffled, you have to hear me out.

You see, I believe in Santa Claus…passionately. He is as much a part of Christmas as the baby Jesus himself, and for all the right reasons, which I will explain in a moment, but first…

The hard part about all of this is knowing that the day will come when my kids will no longer believe in Santa Claus. That day to me symbolizes a rite of passage for them, or a big kick in my shin reminding me that my babies are not babies anymore. Well it happened. Just this week, the very week before Christmas, my eight year old son told me that other boys at school were telling him that there was no such thing as Santa Claus, and how he argued with them that there absolutely was such a thing and how he had secretly spied on Santa with his own eyes eating cookies. My nine year old daughter listened on, and with a raised eyebrow, she waited for my response and for the other shoe to drop…she suspects something, and is waiting for her trickster father to ‘fess up. My mind raced…I can’t let my son become the object of school ridicule, and my daughter is already suspecting and very aware of my tricks…I was cornered and had no other choice…so I played the stall card.

“I don’t care what your friends at school say, there absolutely is such a thing as Santa Claus…I believe in him with all my heart and so does your mother, and that is that.”

That’s right! I said it, and I meant every word of it too...

My son glowed with the satisfaction of being right, and my daughter’s eyes were wide with surprise as if that was not quite the response she was expecting. When the coast was clear, my wife asked what I was going to do next, because the gig was up and I can’t let this go on. We had just discussed it the day before and I had gotten all misty and emotional that my kids were on the cusp of moving to the next level, and here it was 24 hours later becoming a reality. Dang, this sucks and I have to be a baby about it to boot.

The fact is, I am not the kind of parent that can just come out and say “They’re right kiddo, there’s no such thing as Santa Claus, ha, ha,” and just be done with it. It isn’t that easy for me and it is not my style, and again…I actually do believe in Santa Claus. So, the trick now was to tell my kids there is no Santa Claus, but at the same time…there really is a Santa Claus. This was going to require some creative thinking and I needed something really fast.

baby_jesus-724805This is where the Secret Society of Santas was born...After a few hours of quick research, I devised a basic plan, and that evening I told my wife and the kids we were going to P.F. Changs for dinner and a special surprise (What better place than quality Chinese-American food to discuss Christmas, secret societies, and the truth about Santa Claus). So during the course of steamed dumplings and crab wontons, I laid it all out on the table, while they listened on with wide eyes and amazement. While my plan was fundamentally sound enough to bridge this important transition for them, I still had to make much of it up as I went in order to keep it compelling. As I spoke I watched them go through a range of emotions from disappointment, to sadness, a little anger, confusion, and then contentment. I know I’m running long here, but it was important to me and maybe for you too, so here it is in a nutshell…

First, I started with a refresher course in the birth of Jesus, the manger, the star, the wise men, frankinsense, gold, and myrrh, etc. I then parlayed that into the story of Bishop Nicholas who was born in the 3rd century and how he was a devout Christian and dedicated his whole life to serving God, and became very famous for his extraordinary generosity for those in need, his love for children, and concern for sailors and ships. So famous and loved by the people that after he died on December 6, 343 AD, he became a Saint and was thereafter known as Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of…well, a lot of things to do with generosity and protection and so on, and December 6 was celebrated as St. Nicholas Day. I then explained how Saint Nicholas when spoken in certain languages and dialects phonetically sounds like Santy Claus and how that over the years evolved into Santa Claus…but the reality is that Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, and Saint Nicholas was a real person whose spirit of love for God, Jesus, and generosity was so powerful that it still lives on today in all of us…and therefore… (Deep Breath and… wait for it…wait for it) I. Am. Santa Claus. This was where the emotions kicked in for them…stnicholas

I then explained how the jolly fat red Santa came about from Washington Irving’s creative writing and how flying reindeer and Rudolph were really just other evolutions thrown in over the past 100 years or so, but have nothing to really do with the real Santa Claus, but that Santa Claus appears in many different forms and images for different cultures around the world.

And now to bring the story full circle and make it all special for them…

“You have both come of age and the time is now for you to cross over to the next stage of your life and be inducted into the Secret Society of Santa helpers, whereby, you will now be aware of the world’s biggest and greatest secret and are obligated to now assist in carrying and protecting that secret close to your heart and to help me continue in the tradition of being Santa for your cousins and other children that have not come of age yet. Because, you now see, Santa Claus is in fact real…he is real in me, and now he is real in you. It is our duty to embrace this responsibility and carry on the work in the spirit of Saint Nicholas, and to pass on his work to our own children, and advise them of their responsibility to pass it on to their children, and down for generations to come as it has been done for centuries before us. It is an important responsibility not to be taken lightly. Are you ready?”

And with great dignity and pride at now being apart of what they perceive to be a huge leap toward being apart of something “grown-up”, I received a resounding “Yes”…followed by many requests and ideas for elf suits.

At any rate, tonight, Christmas Eve, we will have the official cermony where I will light some candles, we will hold hands and say a prayer, eat some cookies and drink some milk as a kind of Communion, and I will have them take an oath to the Order of St. Nicholas , because no secret society is complete without a Secret Oath ;-). Then I will become Santa Claus as I have every year, only this year they will help with their three year old cousin and begin to learn the excitement from the other side of the Santa Society.

I. AM. SANTA

And for good measure, I also threw in that I am the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, and I will explain it all in greater detail later.

That is my Joyful opinion…and I am sticking with it.

Want to join the Secret Society of Santa? Just let me know and I will put together a more formal guide on the rules and bylaws.

December 24, 2008 - Posted by | Everything Else | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. OMG! Just what I needed! I had to finally tell my son at age TWELVE that we were Santa Claus…he cried…he said, I suppose there is no Jesus then, either! Broke my heart!
    Thanks for your version…it will help with grandkids!

    Comment by Lisa Van Male | December 21, 2009

  2. Wow Lisa, your son made it much longer than most, which is great. What was important to me was that this whole event became something special for my kids instead of another let down. Every kid that believes in Santa will reach this point, and it truly is a milestone in their life. As a parent, you can make it special and begin a tradition that gets passed for generations or you can just blow the whistle on the whole caper and move on. I enjoy the fun and spirit of it and the memories it will create, hopefully you can do the same.

    Comment by spitzit | December 22, 2009

  3. Wow! I found your website, while looking for the Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie, then found your post about Secret Society of Santa. I was so touched by how you handled it and have now a new generation of Santas who will have the joy of giving at Christmas time . . . and hopefully all year (i.e. Easter, when teeth fall out, etc). You must be quite a guy! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Judy Goldthorp | October 2, 2010

  4. Amazing. I just googled Secret Society of Santas because I’m thinking of creating a book with the exact same purpose (and surprisingly, with many of the same details – S.S.S., Order of St. Nicholas) as what you’ve outlined. …And I thought I was so clever coming up with the name, and the concept. I guess to be fair I should ask your permission to use the name now. I’ve actually been toying with companion books. One in the form of a locked induction manual, illustrating an actual, historical S.S.S. with “old” daguerreotypes and etchings, photos of signed parchment oaths and monagrams, old news clippings and other artifacts., translated transcripts of of ancient texts, etc., and ending on a page containing historical signatures (Pere Noel, Father Christmas, Santa Clause, etc) with space under them for a parent to sign the name Santa Clause, and later a child as well. My other idea is a fiction of previous exploits of the S.S.S.
    PS: Your cookie communion is genius.

    Comment by jp smith | January 17, 2012


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