I am Santa. Santa is me.

As I write this, Smoke is sitting in the bed next to me looking at comic books, claiming he wants to stay up all night. He has Christmas Fever. When I told him it wouldn’t be possible for him to stay awake from now until Christmas, he responded “It’s only seven days away.”

I’m humoring him, just a little, by letting him stay up late with me tonight. It’s better than turning out the light and hollering at him every five minutes because he won’t settle down.

Two nights ago I helped him write this Christmas list for Santa.


I will transcribe it here for you.

Santa- I! want for Christ[mas]

A Science Kit!

Angry Birds Transformers Teleporters!

The! Minerals Mommy Kellie uses in the Bath

A Whole Box Of Candy Canes (every kind)

Dumbledore’s Castle (Lego Set)

The Dark Fortress (Lego Set)

Jay’s Thunderator (Lego Set) [I later learned that the product is actually called Jay’s Thunder Raider]

Double-sided Tape

Bat-coptor (Lego set)

I’ve got to say, I’m finding it hard to juggle my duties as mom and Santa, and I find it hard to know where one of us ends and the other begins.

When I was a child, Santa’s role was clearly defined. He came down our chimney, filled our stockings and ate our cookies. All of the presents under the tree came from Mom and Dad.

We haven’t drawn such clean lines in our family. We don’t have a chimney, so I don’t know how to explain how he enters our house. Santa fills stockings, but Smoke is under the impression that he’s in charge of all the gift-giving too.

I let him believe this since this is what his friends all think, and I don’t want to muddy the waters. But the waters are muddy. How will I explain that Santa looked into it and decided that (s)he really didn’t want to spend fifty dollars on a video game accessory (see the second item on the list), or hundreds of dollars on a Lego fortress?

Santa has already come through with a science kit, bath minerals, and double-sided tape. The box of candy canes (every kind!) seemed like a no-brainer but is turning out to be hard to find. Sadly, I notice socks aren’t on the list…

To be sure, Santa will bring some of Smoke’s friends more, and some of them less. I’ve no doubt that Santa will bring someone Dumbledore’s Castle, or extravagances Smoke hasn’t even dared to dream of yet, and I’ve no idea how I’ll explain why Santa seems to play favorites.


Meanwhile, I’ve already purchased more than I intended to. I find my eyes glazing over in the Target or in our local toy store, hopelessly torn between wanting to keep things simple and imagining Smoke’s disappointment when he opens the last gift and begins to enumerate all of the missing items on the list.

“You realize these are just suggestions?” I asked as we were writing. “Santa’s not going to get you everything you ask for.”

Smoke gave me a confused look. “It’s not suggestions,” he told me. “It’s a list.”


  1. How in the world are you supposed to know about or even control Santa’s actions?! The North Pole doesn’t even exist as a piece of land… It’s floating ice! The whole thing is a mystery! And as soon as you (or I) questioned the how or why ourselves as kids, he stopped coming. I mean, he anoints random people with his magic (which explains the fake beards all over the place) and he seems to know what mama wouldn’t want you to have (which explains the video game part for your guy or the iPhone 6 for mine.) That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. All I know is he wants our kids to make good decisions, he tries to do kind things for children and he is filled with the magic of the season!
    Now you have to tell me how you’re finding time to write. Because I can’t find time to shower. You must be magic… 🙂

    • Jen, I think you’ve thought this Santa thing through much better than I have. I’ve also figured out that since Smoke very much *wants to* believe in Santa, his critical thinking radar is set to “off”.

  2. It’s such a complicated season. Our expectations and excited anticipation make it so. And here I am, with only three adult gift recipients in attendance here on Christmas Day and all I have for them are socks…because what else could they possibly need or want? You handle your son’s fantasies so well, as always…

  3. Lol funny, and sweet, and poignant. Did Harlan draw the list’s decorative illustrations? They! are! awesome! (Why does he want double sided tape?) 🙂

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