Jolly Old St. Nicholas

I’ve been thinking deep, profound thoughts about Santa Claus. No, really, come back.

While I am all for holiday cheer and celebrating Christmas, I can’t help but think that the entire Santa thing is sort of… well, a lie we’re all foisting on children. I’ve always been kind of ambivalent about whether I would go in with the Santa thing when I became a parent. I figured I would play it as it lays.

However, now that we have the Bean, it’s not very obvious how to handle this. For the first time this year, she’s really excited about and aware of Christmas. We have our advent calendar, our wreath on the door, our mistletoe sprig and cuddly St. Nicholas Day reindeer (thanks, Grandmama!) on the mantle. We are putting the little ornaments on the advent calendar tree every morning, and counting the remaining sleeps until Christmas.

Mistletoe looks better in a vase!

Mistletoe looks better in a vase!

To really drive the point home (and because I like bratwurst) yesterday I took her on a Mom-only outing to the German Christmas Market in town.

It was a really nice afternoon out, in spite of the crowds. We rode on the train, which is, for Eve, a great thrill.  Then we strolled up New Street, looking at all the toys and ornaments in the stalls.

More impressive en masse. Wouldn't want one in the house.

More impressive en masse. Wouldn’t want one in the house.

We also bought hats, which Bean refers to either as “Christmas hats” or “Grinch hats” (she is starting to call them “Santa hats” with our coaching), and consumed bratwurst with great gusto.

"No more pictures! No smiling!"

However, the highlight of the expedition was the carousel. We rode four times, and it was worth every blessed penny. So great was Bean’s enthusiasm for the “horsies” that she only picked at the hot waffle with chocolate and whipped cream we tried between goes. My attempts to draw her attention to anything else bore no fruit. She watched the horses and flapped, bopping to the oompah music.

On the first two rides, I sat with her on the horse to make sure she wouldn’t fall. On the third, she directed me to get my own horse, thank you very much, as “This is a Evey horse, not a Mommy horse.”


So she’s already getting the message that Christmas is a special time, and her memories are happy. She’s also aware that she gets to be a reindeer in a little performance at nursery school on Wednesday (squee!). We’ll read a Nativity story, plus The Night Before Christmas. Then in addition to the Grinch, we’ll  probably get our hands on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and, of course, Emmet Otter, which is the best EVER, and I don’t want to hear otherwise from you, smart guy:

Looking forward, though, I’m going back and forth about whether to do the whole “Santa” thing with her. This child has enough issues with communication; I don’t know if building up an elaborate story which is, in essence, a lie, is going to be good for her.  I realize that even with a mainstream kid, this probably is something that’s more urgent with a four-year-old, but I like to think ahead. So, if there are any other parents who’ve been down this road with a kid who has communication issues reading here, I’d appreciate thoughts.

(P.S.– All I want for Christmas is a potty-trained Bean. I will believe in Christmas miracles if that happens.)



  1. You never cease to amaze me with your insight.
    I’d Play it by ear and go with a ” Father Christmas” Christmas angle. focus on the spiritand joy of it all receiving and GIVING Presents.
    Love DAD-DY- POPS

  2. Dominic knows Santa because he’s obsessed with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. But he has no concept other than that, like what he does or that it was him who delivered all the presents. It’s such an abstract story, and kiddos on the spectrum tend to be pretty concrete literal thinkers. So i agree this would be a tough topic to drive home. And it’s untrue, so then what do we do when they are older and are devastated at the suggestion he isn’t real?

    1. This was my worry. I think I can explain to her that he is a legend who stands for goodness and generosity, but that some people think he is real, and to let them believe it. Don’t want Miss Literal to be the one blowing the other 7-year-olds’ minds in a few years. I hope you guys had a nice Christmas!

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