The season of believing

I was embarrassingly old when I found out Santa Claus wasn't real. I think it was like 4th grade. Yeah...I know. I remember standing in the kitchen after school telling my mom what I wanted for Christmas and my brother blurted out "Taryn you do know Santa Claus doesn't exist, right?" I guess I can't say I "believed" in the truest sense of the word. But I was happy living with my naivety so I never acknowledged what I knew was probably true. Until that moment.

Although I can't remember exactly how it happened, I'm pretty sure that I pretended to know (as in, "like duh Jeff, I totally know") then went to my room and cried.

The other day Ethan and I were talking about the Tooth Fairy as he came across a "My First Tooth" pillow he got as a baby gift. He asked what it was for and I explained how when he's bigger (hopefully before 4th, 4th grade was a big year for me) his baby teeth will get wiggly and fall out to make room for his big teeth.

"Then what happens to them?" he said, confused.

"You put them in the pillow, hang it on your bedroom door, and the tooth fairy leaves a special treat in it's place."

You could see the wheels turning in his head. "Mommy, I don't believe in fairies. They are only in movies."

What? He's 4! A wave of panic went through my body. So I pried a little more to assess the situation.

"Well then Ethan, who puts the treat in the pillow?" I asked hopefully.

Without skipping a beat, he put my nerves at ease. "Um, I don't know. Santa or the Easter Bunny."


I know that the holidays are about so much more than eating excessive amounts of turkey at Thanksgiving or putting on coordinating outfits for the keepsake photo with Santa at the mall - and we go to great lengths to make sure our kids are aware of why we celebrate these important dates. We talk to them about being grateful and giving thanks. We read them stories about Jesus' birth and collect gently used toys to donate to the less fortunate. But is it wrong to say that the twinkling lights, Christmas carols and flannel pjs are what make the last few months of the year so magical?

Oh, and the look in the eye of your kids that tells you 'they believe'.

There is nothing like it.

Christmas Eve 2010
Christmas morning 2010

How old were your kids when they stopped believing?


  1. Such a lovely post. My oldest is 8 and thankfully, he still very much believes. Because right now it's about magic and surprise. Once they stop believing, it starts to become so much more about the gifts they get.

  2. brendan is 9, and i am dreading the day he doesn't believe. The past year or so there were some questions that we easily answered away, but i know someday it will all end. I hope he lets me keep thinking he believes forever!

    They both love polar express, so i bought them the little bell ornaments, so i can remind them of believing!

  3. Good to know I've got a good 5-6 years of "believing" left. And Kellie, my boys love Polar Express too - that's such a good idea!