Gabi knows that Santa Claus is pretend.
Well, she knows that WE think Santa Claus is pretend. After everything she heard over the last few months, though, she has developed other ideas.
I thought we were doing a pretty good job of making Christmas about the birth of Jesus, and explaining that we give presents in remembrance of the Magi's gifts, while also having fun with the whole Santa thing and telling Gabi about the Elves and Rudolph and the Naughty and Nice list. As a STORY. A PRETEND STORY that you tell for Christmas.
But just before Christmas our conversations started to take a turn:
Me: Gabi, look, there's Santa!
Gabi: That's a daddy dressed in a costume. Right, mommy?
Me: Yes, that's probably a daddy dressed in a costume. Doesn't he look jolly?
Gabi: Yes, but he's not the REAL Santa.
Me: Gabi, Santa is just pretend. He's not a real person. It's just a story, like The Little Mermaid is a story.
Gabi: Hmmm. I like that story. Ariel is my favorite! Will the real Santa bring me a present?
I think the confusion is founded in a million other people telling Gabi that Santa is real. Isn't this a parent's prerogative? They're all probably just acting on the safe side in case Gabi DOES believe in Santa, but she doesn't, or didn't, so it's just confusing her.
And what child wouldn't want to believe in Santa? He brings presents! And has flying reindeer! And gives out chocolate at the mall! If I was Gabi, and hearing different versions of the Santa Claus story, I'd choose the one with the presents, too.
Christmas is now over, and Santa didn't bring Gabi any presents. She seemed a little disappointed at first, but was soon much more excited by what she DID get. A dollhouse! And new clothes for her Bitty Baby. And so much more. We all had a really wonderful day.
Hopefully by next year she'll be old enough to understand that the Santa story is just pretend, and something we do for fun. It's pretty important to both Gilberto and I that Gabi know the truth, but a million to one odds are hard to beat!