I blame Clement Clarke Moore.
I feel a little bad for throwing the blame at him because Clement is not here to defend himself.
Oh, he’s long gone. He died in 1863.
You’ve might have heard of the guy – he was a professor born and raised in New York City. A wealthy professor that lived in a mansion with his wife, Catherine. Did he call her Kate? Who knows. Clement and Catherine produced nine children.
On December 24, 1822, Clement plucked a feather from one of his farm chickens, found some ink, and wrote a fictional poem. He needed a good story to get the kids to go to bed. They had an early morning at church the next day, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He also needed the kids to go to bed so he could knock up Catherine again. Probably.
As Clement sat, tapping his chicken feather with one hand and holding a lit roll of marijuana leaves in the other, he thought –
“hey, we just celebrated St. Nicholas Day. The kids loved it. But what if St. Nicholas was not a saint? Maybe he was an elf. Not one of those little elves but a big fat ass elf that slides down chimneys while people sleep. And he tip toes around and leaves gifts for the kids to make up for him being creepy by breaking into their home. His mode of transportation will be a sleigh. With reindeer pulling him. Eight reindeer. And they fly. Fly high. High as a kite. He likes to fly hiiiiigh. I need to give Nickie a puff of the pipe too. And let’s throw a mouse in there. Kids like little things that squeak.”
I mean, probably. I don’t really know; it’s my own speculation on how this story was created.
That evening, Clement gathered his children and read – “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”
You may know it as, The Night Before Christmas.
And the lying began.
193 years later, this story spiraled out of control. It became real. We added a red-light to the nose of a ninth reindeer, the North Pole is now magical, and just recently we added an Elf on the Shelf.
Bringing a character to life for a young child is fascinating for a new parent. It’s Disney World at your own house. You’re behind the scenes. You control giving your child the happiest moment of their childhood – Christmas morning.
And then your kid enters 4th grade.
Some kids know the truth about Santa in 4th grade and some don’t. And then you’re left googling, “who the hell started Santa Claus.” You end up cussing out Clement Clarke Moore with his chicken feather and ink.
I can’t tell if Emma believes or not. Some days, she tells Kate she “doesn’t care” to find Buddy, the elf. But when she’s standing in line to see Santa, she’s giddy and whispering secrets to him.
Do I tell her? Do I let her keep believing? Does she really know and just pretending to play along? I don’t want her to be humiliated at school for believing. Will she tell her younger sister in a raging fury? Will she hate us for lying? Because how can you lie to me, mom and dad?!
I blame Clement Clarke Moore.
When did you know Santa Claus doesn’t exist? When did your children find out? Do you ever wish you told your kids at the beginning that Santa is just a character? And how high do you have to be to come up with flying reindeer?