5 Christmas Secrets I Keep From My Kids

pictured (l-r): Sutton, a complete fraud, Bennett

pictured (l-r): Sutton, a complete fraud, Bennett

Ho ho ho, guys! It’s me! No, not Santa. Daddy! Although, actually, since you mention it…

No, nevermind. Forget I said that. With Christmas coming up so soon, I’m just giddy with anticipation for you-know-who’s arrival. Or should I say “you-think-you-know-who.” Ha, ha, ha!

Sorry, I’m doing it again. Look, it’s best if you don’t read this post, not for a few years, at least. Go watch Dora save Christmas. I have some Yuletide-related secrets I want to talk about, so it’s best if this post — kind of like this post and this one — is just between me and the grown-ups for now.

Ready? Here goes…

1. Yes, you’re getting the damn Sofia the First Royal Talking Enchanted Freaking Vanity!

Still in its shipping box. We are terrible parents.

Still in its shipping box. We are terrible parents.

You’ve asked for it at least 5,000 times. Today. Do you know how hard it is for me to keep saying, “Well, maybe Santa will get you one!” Of course he’s not going to get you one, because I beat him to it. Do I look like some kind of Scrooge? I bought the damn thing weeks ago.


Oh, sure, you’re probably remembering the Scoops ‘n Treats Play-Doh set you asked us for 5,000 times before your birthday. The one you never got.

Funny story: we actually bought it for you, way ahead of time, even, but then we forgot to give it to you. Probably because you stopped asking about it. Then we decided it was better for you to learn the lesson that you can’t get everything you ask for. Ahem. Maybe it’ll show up on Christmas.

2. Jesus.

peanutsnativityYou know how you love birthday parties? Well, that’s actually what Christmas is, only for this guy who died a long time ago who Daddy and I don’t ever talk about. I believe he was represented by Woodstock in the Peanuts nativity set. Ring a bell?

Maybe you would’ve liked this dude, I don’t know. He could do some cool magic tricks, so they say. But the birthday party you’re supposed to throw for him doesn’t have bounce houses and goodie bags, like the kind of party you’re used to. Instead, it comes with these long, boring speeches and organ music. And instead of cake and pizza, you get these flavorless bread wafers. Thanks, we’ll pass.

So Daddy and I just took the parts we liked of the tradition — getting together with family, watching animated TV specials and unwrapping electronics — and built our celebration around them. It’s not totally fair to the birthday boy or the people who truly believe in him, because it’s his party, after all. But I like to think we’re at least living up to the true meaning of Christmas.

Speaking of which…

3. The true meaning of Christmas is lies, lies, lies!

She's on to me!

She’s on to me!

I had to stop you guys the other day when you kept talking about all the presents you were going to get on December 25th. “Don’t you know what Christmas is really all about?” I asked.

“Caring?” Sutton guessed.

“Exactly,” I lied.

Yes, I lied.

Of course I lied. Because any parent knows that’s what Christmas is really all about: tons and tons of lies. They start with Daddy “emailing” your wish list to Santa (it never left my draft folder!) and end with you thinking the cookies and carrots you left by the fireplace got eaten by Santa and his reindeer (they ended up in my belly and the garbage, respectively). It’s an entire season of lies, and honestly, I’m about to crack.

Remember when we went to see Santa at the mall, and he had a Southern accent? How you sat on his lap and he said, “Howdy, what d’y’all want Santa to gitcha fer Chriss’musssss?” I was really hoping that would slip past you, but nope. As soon as we left, you asked why Santa was talking funny, and I stammered like an idiot. Um… because he’s magic? Because Santa is actually from the South Pole? I don’t know! This is more deceit than I signed up for!

By the way, Mall Santa, I don’t know who gave you the character description, but it’s pretty clear how Santa talks. Maybe you’re proud of your own Alabama heritage, or maybe you wanted to put your own spin on the character, like when Baz Luhrmann made Gatsby a Jay-Z fan. But I’m not impressed. See, this only works if we’re all on the same page, so get with the program, Kringle.

"Santa just is white." Yes! Or black, or a transgender Latino. I don't care, but let's pick one and stick with it.

“Santa just is white.” Yes! Or black, or a transgender Latino. I don’t care, but let’s pick one and stick with it.

In fact, I’m with Megyn Kelly. Santa is just white, kids. Or black. Or she’s a transgender Latino. I don’t care what character profile we choose, but let’s just pick one and stick with it, because the kids smell our fear!

And bravo to them, by the way.

Let’s face it: pretending Santa is real is sweet and fun and everything, but you have to be kind of an idiot to believe all that nonsense. So of course my kids are questioning it, and I’m kind of proud of them for calling bullshit on such obvious bullshit. Don’t worry, though. I’m going to keep lying, like I’m supposed to.

It just never stops, especially with you, Sutton. The other day, you asked me if Rudolph was real. “Of course he is.” I said.

“But he doesn’t really have a red nose, right?”

“Sure he does.”

“But reindeers don’t have red noses.”

“Most don’t. That’s what makes Rudolph special.”

“Then how come he’s not in the ‘Paw Patrol’ Christmas special? All the other reindeers are.”

Seriously, what am I supposed to say to that? “Well, ‘Paw Patrol’ is fiction, but the Rudolph special is a documentary”? Part of me says this is a good time to teach you guys about intellectual property laws and how Santa is public domain, but Rudolph isn’t, but that would shoot the whole charade to Hell, wouldn’t it?

Today, you asked me if elves really make the toys. “Uh… yup!” I said. “In Santa’s Workshop!”

“But how do they make the boxes?”

Damn, you’re smart, kid! “Well…,” I lied, “there’s a box factory next door.”

Somehow, you bought it, but now I have to remember that I’ve added a North Pole box factory to the mythology in case that ever comes up again. Awesome.

Don’t even get me started on that Elf on the Shelf crap. Enough! Who are these horrible parents who keep seeking out new ways to hoodwink their children and complicate their own lives?

OK, I know what the Santa apologists are going to say. “But kids love to believe! Nobody’s ever been mad at their parents when they found out Santa was a lie.”

Fine, so they’re right. I wasn’t mad at my parents when I found out they lied about Santa. But I am now. In fact, I’m freaking pissed, because now I have to keep this long con job going for another generation. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad.

4. I am a holiday season bigot.

OK, back to Megyn Kelly for a second. Yes, she’s an idiot, but if I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit the holiday season brings out my closed-minded side, too. As much as I want to teach you kids to recognize and appreciate other cultures, how am I supposed to explain Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Ramadan to you? “In one magical night, Santa brings toys to all the good boys and girls all over the world. Well, actually he skips most of the Middle East, Africa and large swaths of Long Island.” Seriously, once you acknowledge religion, it becomes even more obvious that the Santa stuff is a crock. That’s why I’ve conspicuously left Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song” off our holiday mix.

You know who are the greatest people in the world, by the way? Jewish kids. Because every year, they listen to kids like mine blathering on and on about the bowl-full-of-jelly-gutted superhero who brings them toys for being well-behaved, and they just go, “Uh-huh. Fascinating.” They’re forced to play along with this nonsense more than anyone, and for what? They don’t get stop-motion holiday specials or Kelly Clarkson Hanukkah albums or an intricate mythology with colorful characters. All they get is a stirring legend about lamp oil, a few pairs of socks, and jokes about how lame their holiday is. “Oh, night #3? What did you get, socks?”

If you want to know who really embodies the Christmas spirit, it’s obvious: Jewish kids.

And of course, by that, I mean, they’re forced to lie more than anyone. Thanks, by the way.

5. If you guys had the least bit of curiosity about the laundry room, the jig would be up.


You are SO close to this bonanza!

That’s right! It’s all in the laundry room! The Playskool Heroes Marvel Spider-Man Adventures Web Racing Funhouse Playset, the Angry Birds Star Wars At-At Attack Battle Game, and yes, the freaking Sofia Vanity. (On a side note, when did toy names get so ridiculously long? Is Fiona Apple working in the packaging department at Hasbro?)

Turns out Santa’s workshop is a lot closer than you think. North Pole? Ha! It’s not even in the northernmost part of our house. It’s about five feet away from your playroom, actually, just past the washer and dryer Daddy and I are assuming you have no interest in. Everything’s unwrapped, in Disney Store shopping bags and Amazon boxes, two containers which always pique your interest. All you’d have to do is peek back there and this whole house of cards would come crashing down.

Come to think of it, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.

* * * * *

Don’t Scrooge me, bro! If you liked this post, please share it on your social networks with the handy buttons below — and better yet, please subscribe to this blog, like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. I post different content to each site, just to keep everyone on their toes. Finally, here’s wishing you a happy whatever-you-celebrate, and if it’s anything other than Christmas, an extra thanks for not blowing the Santa thing to my kids.

15 comments on “5 Christmas Secrets I Keep From My Kids

  1. I absolutely love this! It’s excellent. My daughter is not yet two, so I have her presents just laying out everywhere, she doesn’t know the difference. I could probably just wrap up her old toys and give them to her, but I just can’t make myself do it. LOL. This is awesome. I am definitely sharing this!

  2. So in our house and Amy’s growing up Santa doesn’t wrap presents so that would save u and Drew some wrapping time cause I imagine you guys enjoy doing that. We will wrap a few gifts that are not from Santa.

  3. I wasn’t angry when I found out Santa wasn’t really – I was devastated! I think I cried. Who decided we should keep up this charade, anyway? Was there a vote 80 years ago? An international memo?

  4. I totally get this. We decided to not do Santa because of this stuff – but I’m too chicken to tell our families, so we’ve got this real-not real hybrid going on. I have no idea how it will all end, my daughter is 3 and son is 1 – so there’s time. I do share your frustration. My mother in law tried to give us the Elf on the Shelf. It was all I could do not to say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

  5. Aaaah, the laundry room. My parents hid the presents in the “unseeable corner” of my dad’s closet, or the back of the hallway coat closet that we “never” used for hide and seek. There were also a few years where my parents thought they could even hide the presents under my dad’s bed. Uh hunh. Like my sister didn’t crawl around under there every day, just like we didn’t cram ourselves into unseeable corners and coat closet backs, because those certainly weren’t the most fun places to explore in the house…

    There was actually a sort of equilibrium for a few years, where our parents kept hiding presents in the same places and my sister and I would go on find-the-presents-but-don’t-get-caught missions, since our parents didn’t know that we knew what the jig was. Childhood adventures, man. Best of luck 😉

  6. Re 2) Jesus has about as much to do with Christmas as Wii – he came much later. Mid-winter was a pagan celebration long before the Christians annexed it, and I have not the tiniest qualms celebrating it excactly the way I want to (these days usually on the beach and with lovely food).

    Re 3) Whoever said that, just because your parents lied to you, you have to lie to your kids, too? In our house, we consciously put all presents wrapped under the tree with tags on them to know who they are from. It is much more important to us that our children have a relationship with (and some gratitude towards) their relatives and friends than some imaginary fat fashion debacle.

    And PS: I WAS angry, especially because I got shouted at when I found out that Santa this year was actually my uncle (in Germany, Santa visits the kids on Christmas Eve and brings them their gifts personally). Because, in my blunt way, I just blurted out my observations while my parents would have liked to keep up appearances for my younger sister’s “benefit” a little longer. That sucked!

  7. My daughter kept up the façade of believing in Santa until she was 8, she’d worked out he didn’t exist by the the time she was 6 but thought we still believed in him & didn’t want to upset us so carried on getting excited about Santa for our benefit!

    While the myth of Santa was still around we only did 2 presents (1 stocking & 1 under tree) from Santa & the others were labelled with who they were from so she could make a list to write thank you cards – or rather I made the list & then stood over her whilst she threw major tantrums at having to write out the cards; now she’s 15 & has her own laptop it’s not such a drama as she gets to design the cards & typing is so much quicker.

  8. Thanks for the shout-out to the Jewish kids. Never really thought about it, but yeah! Keeping up the ruse, all for socks. (The secret is we actually got some major big ticket items on nights 1 and 8 that made us forget all about the socks. And Chinese food & a movie on Dec 25.)

  9. LOVE IT!!!!!! I totally get the bought you something for your birthday and forgot about it in it’s box so I’ll save it and hopefully remember to give it to you for Christmas! Have fun!

  10. I was furious when I found out Santa was a myth. In fact, over 20 years later, I still haven’t quite forgiven all the adults that were around me back then for lying…

    I vowed that if I ever had children, I’d not spin them this bullshit. But like another commentator here, now that my son is here, I’m feeling intense pressure from everyone around me. I know I should say, “well, sod them,” but it’s difficult to do so :-\

    Anyway, great post 🙂

  11. I love your post! So very true, I find myself telling my kids these same lies every year 🙂 Ahh, the things we do for the little ones! Great post, can’t wait to read more!

  12. Christmas spirit is the smile on my kids’ faces every morning leading up to Christmas. As they get older, we intend on shifting the emphasis from toys to more meaningful messages, but for now, their world is a playroom, and we’re ok with that.

  13. Jerry, these are awesome! You made me laugh, as always. And that part about the Jewish kids embodying the Christmas spirit? That is just too true! My 7-year-old is in public school but the emphasis on CHRISTMAS is insane…God (or Allah or Buddha or whoever) help the kid in that class who isn’t celebrating it, because it seems that is all they talk about for a whole month!

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