B and I are pretty honest and open with Thor, and even though we keep things light and on level with his maturity, we don’t really mince words.  So, it’s kind of funny that we’ve played Santa.  And Easter Bunny.  And Birthday Fairy.  Okay, that last one is me entirely.  All that changed tonight, though.

Thor came home from school very excited about a project his class is doing, collecting items for the needy, and very excited about us having chosen a little boy his age from an Angel tree.  He was chirping away in the back seat and said, “Our kid [the Angel tree boy]…I guess he’s the only kid Santa doesn’t care about?”  I asked him what he meant, thinking about the movie trailer we’d seen prior to the Muppet Movie (which is greatness!  go see it now!)  He said, “You know, Santa doesn’t care about him because he’s poor, so he can’t have presents.”

It was one of those moments I couldn’t have prepared for–who would expect that?!

I assured him that poverty had nothing to do with how much Santa cared for children, and he hummed his understanding.  “So Santa won’t bring him any presents because he’s a bad kid.  Is he a bad kid because he’s poor?”

All the logic of the Christmas mythology was suddenly cumbersome.

“No, no, no,” I promised.  “He’s not a bad boy.  No, no, no.”

“Then why isn’t Santa giving him anything?  You said he was on the Angel tree because he might not get any presents?”

And since he’s six, and since we’re honest, and since I didn’t want him thinking that Santa was a 1%’er (remind me to tell you about the talk we had about the difference between Democrats and Republicans the other day), I took a deep breath and said, “Thor, I’m going to tell you a big secret…”

I did, too.  I told my child that Santa is a wonderful character like Finn McMissile or Lightning McQueen, and that we like to tell stories about him to teach people about gift giving, and good cheer, but that he wasn’t a real person, and the reason children ended up on Angel trees was because their parents might be having a hard time finding a job, and the Spirit of Christmas is about sharing what we have with people who are doing without.

We ran into B in the parking lot, right about that time, and B agreed.  Thor said, “Great!  I’ll beat you to the front door!”  And took off.

Tomorrow, we’re going to go see Santa.

Why not?  We can all still pretend and enjoy.