As soon as we saw the advertisement for the new Hess truck this year, B and I knew that N would love it. What more could he want than a truck AND a tractor in one toy! Sure enough, once N saw the commercial he was hooked. So as he repeatedly asks for this truck, B and I decided to introduce the idea of Santa. Sure he’s seen Santa before, but this is the first Christmas that he is actually starting to understand and be aware of what is going on. So we told him that Santa would bring him the Hess truck and then before they sold out B ran out to a Hess station to secure one and hold up our promise.
Now N references Santa and how he is coming with “the green and white truck” soon. Unfortunately, N still doesn’t have a sense of time, so he thinks Santa is coming imminently. Every time the doorbell rings, he jumps up and yells, “Santa’s here!”. Stifling my laughter, I repeatedly remind him that Santa comes while you are sleeping and that he won’t be here for a while. He also gives a saccharin “thank you, Santa!” with each Advent box he opens from our Santa-shaped Advent calendar. It has become clear that N is a big fan.
We saw our first Santa recently at a celebration in Cianfrani Park. When N had his turn on Santa’s lap, he looked up at him seriously and said, “I want trucks.” The Santa talked to him for a bit, but N disregarded most of what Santa said and reasserted his demand: “I want trucks.” Santa gave a few ho, ho, ho’s and then said, “let me see what I have here for you,” while reaching into his sack for a toy. “Is it a truck?” N asked, with a tone that suggested that if it wasn’t then he wasn’t interested. Santa pulled out a small stuffed toy of an indeterminate animal. N was unimpressed. His time with Santa over, N seemed perplexed, so I had to explain that Santa will return with the truck later.
As I reinvent the Christmas traditions of my childhood with my children, the magic of the holiday season is coming back. Watching N yearn for his Hess truck, jump up and down anticipating Santa, and quizzically looking at Santa while making his pleas, I am not only nostalgic but excited to take on my new role in this holiday play. In a few weeks I will wrap up his truck and place it beneath the tree, sip the milk and nibble the cookies that he leaves out, and in the morning pretend it is as surprising to me as him. While I am now in on the secret of Santa, watching N experience it all for the first time has made me believe once again.