Christmas Lessons: 1


photo by Vanessa Pike-Russell

The Christmas holidays had just concluded, and my dad and I made a pit-stop at the gymnastics center where I would spend most of my childhood. He needed to work out some details for the upcoming meet, and I hung out in the lobby for those few minutes. Had I known that my world would change that quickly, I would’ve stayed in the car.

My gymnastics coach happened to see me and stopped by to say ‘hello’ before heading down to teach a class.

“How do you like your new beam?” she asked.

I immediately was taken aback. I did, in fact, get a beam for Christmas. It was blue and sat flat on the floor and was made out of some stiff foam-like material. The beam wasn’t very heavy and would move if I jumped on it. Honestly, it’s a wonder that I didn’t break my ankle, but, nevertheless, that beam was one of the best presents I ever received. From Santa.

How did you know I got a beam?”

The wheels in my head began spinning, but clearly, her wheels were not keeping up with mine.

“I saw your dad pick it up,” she answered matter-of-factly.

The wheels were now grinding together, producing a thick fog of smoke in my brain.

My dad? How was that possible? Santa brought that gift.

And then, as any child who wants to believe would do, I began to concoct the recipe for how my coach would’ve seen my dad purchasing this gift when, in fact, it was from Santa. It was easy–Santa is magical, so he simply turned himself into the likeness of my dad and purchased the beam. He didn’t have one in his workshop because…well…it doesn’t matter. He knew I liked the one at my gym, and it was just easier to fly down from the North Pole, turn himself into my dad, and purchase it then try to have his elves recreate it in the workshop.

Yeah, that was it.

And even though I forced myself to believe for another year, that day marked the day when a little of the Christmas magic died in my heart.

Christmas Lesson 1: Let the child tell you what he or she received for Christmas, not the other way around. You have no idea what spiral of doubt and confusion you may otherwise create.

Was Santa ever spoiled for you? What happened?

I had a fun idea this morning–or fun to me–and wanted to pass it along. If you will send me a Christmas lesson in the comments or in an e-mail, I will try to recreate a short story around it. Or if you prefer, you can write a story and provide the link in the comment box of any of the Christmas Lessons I write! If I don’t get any responses, I’ll know you all think this idea stinks.

11 thoughts on “Christmas Lessons: 1

  1. Oh, that's a good lesson to share.

    I leanred that Santa wasn't real when I was about five. My mom, God love her, used the same wrapping paper for gifts from Santa and gifts from Mommy & Daddy. Busted!


    1. That's funny! My parents practiced a tradition that we carry on today–Santa only leaves one present, unwrapped, right in front of the chimney. Tired moms don't have to worry about the wrapping details! 😉


  2. The best Christmas story for me and it is not a figmnet of my imagination because it's on film is that i ACTUALLY TURNED OUT TO BE THE GOOD GUY WITH Lisa. Everybody has me painted as the bad guy with no patience with my daughter Lisa. But the film clearly shows me as the loving, kind Dad with his sweet daughter, the true me, and MOM as the one without patience, etc. Oh, how great that Christmas morning turned out; a fond memory for me. Go ahead , build a story around that.

    Your sweet, kind,m looving Dad.


  3. I'll remind you of one of the best Christmas stories ever, rivaling a Miracle on 34th Street. Ironically, it's on film. I don't remember the year, perhaps 1987 or 1988 and we were opennng Christmas gifts. I was always painted as the guy who had no patience with his sweet daughter, Lisa. Lo and Behold, on film it shows a loving father with his child, speaking tenderly to her and enjoying every moment. The film also captures the villain, short of patience……MOM!!! Oh, what a great day that was! For surely I was vindicated and as the saying goes,, "One picture is worth a thousand words. " Go ahead build a story around that. If you received a similar story earlier it's a result of my computer going down and I have no record of it being submitted.
    Your seet, loving, kind, patient Dad.


  4. I honestly don't have any memory of how old I was when I learned Santa was a fairytale. But when my 7 year old (now 26) came home from a friends house, very sad, because his friend let him in on the secret, I wanted to rub snow in "little friends" face! I had just spoken to the friends mother a few days before, as I knew they taught their kids there was no Santa. She let me know that she spoke with her son and told him how important it was to keep the secret to himself. Shortly thereafter, he broke the news to my son, who then let his 5 yr old brother also know. He asked me if Santa was real and he asked me to tell the truth. I told him that Santa lived in your heart and he was only real to those who believed in him.


    1. Oh, that story is sad. We don't do the Easter Bunny with the kids–we've just never talked about him one way or the other (I feel another blog post a brewing)–and I've always worried about my kids somehow innocently spoiling it for another kid; although, I think they'll just wonder why he doesn't come for them!


  5. We always did "Santa" gifts for our kids and I absolutely love the magic of it. However, my friend (who has four daughters) didn't allow her children to believe in Santa Claus.
    Well, one of the daughters told my Heidi that there was no Santa.
    That was when I overheard Heidi ask her older brother Daniel what he thought about that.
    His reply?
    "Well, if you notice, Santa doesn't BRING them ANYTHING either!!"
    That settled that and I think we got a couple/three more years of believing out of the two of them. 🙂

    Now… the day they found all of their pulled teeth, carefully wrapped in tissue, taped and dated…in their Dad's brief case.
    That was a little harder to get out of.


  6. I honestly don't remember the day I found out about Santa. I must have repressed the horror.

    As for a Christmas lesson…I can't think of one — what does that say about me?


    1. Probably so. I was devastated. Don't worry about the Christmas lesson. I'm sure you have plenty, but I put you on the spot! (I have quite a few involving money)


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