Tell me, just WHAT do you say when your 5 year old child, riding in the backseat of the car asks you out of the blue, “Mom, does Santa Claus die? And what do they do if he dies? Do they get a replacement for him? How quickly can they get a replacement for him? And what about Mrs. Claus? Does she die? Or can Santa just live forever? How could he be that old to live forever?”
You can only stall for so long. Eventually, you have to answer the question.
After I did as much hemming and hawing as I thought I could get away with, I responded with something like: “Wow! Um… That’s a good question! I never thought about it. I mean, I don’t know. I suppose he might live forever, I mean, he does have Christmas magic. But then, he’d be the only person around that could live forever, so maybe he does die. But if he dies, I mean, they never announce it on the news. At least, I’ve never heard anything on the news about Santa dying. I’ve never read anything in the paper about it. And I watch the news and read the paper a lot, so I think I would have found out about that if it happened, you know? But Santa’s been around as long as I can remember. I mean, they’ve always had Christmas, as far as I know. I never heard anyone say they didn’t have a Christmas when they were a kid. I know he was around when your grandparents, and great-grandparents, and great-great-great grandparents were kids. But some of those folks are dead now, so I guess that would make him really old… Or maybe he does die but they find a replacement before Christmas and they just don’t tell us about it so people won’t be worrying about whether there’s going to be a Christmas…” and then, just for that extra special touch, I added, “You must be the smartest kid in the world to ask that. I mean, I don’t think many kids even think about that to ask. I mean, I’ve never thought about it before. Wow! So, um… How was your day at school today?”
Really, I tell you, it’s hard to come up with an answer when your head is spinning from the shock and you haven’t been given a copy of “The Parent’s Guide to Answering Difficult Questions”. And even if you had a copy, it’d be a little difficult to look up the answer while you’re driving.
After we got home, I distracted my son from his thoughts of a dying Santa with some comic relief in the form of Sponge Bob cartoons on Nick Jr. Then I pulled my husband into the garage where I hissed “HE ASKED ME IF SANTA CLAUS DIES?!”, and I proceeded to tell him the rest of this horrifying exchange. When I finished, my husband said, (rather smugly, I might add), “Santa doesn’t die, he RETIRES and he trains a new Santa in his place. Didn’t you know that? That’s what all the Santa’s in the malls are, Santa’s in training, hoping one of them will get picked to be his replacement when he retires. That’s what you should have told him…”
And I’m thinking, “No. I didn’t know that. And since you’re so damn smart, YOU answer the question next time.”
And there will be a next time. My son was quietly playing the other day, and I heard him talking to himself, something about babies in tummies, and then something that sounded suspiciously like “and the mom eats a babysicle… ” I closed my eyes and pretended that I didn’t hear him. But when it comes up again, I’m going to hem and haw and say, “Hmm… I’m not sure…” Then, I’m handing him the cell phone and say, “Here, call your dad, he’ll know!”
Merry Christmas in July!
14 responses to “Dead Santa”
Ha! Terrifically funny moment. I did not know all those mall Santas were in training, waiting to be called up to the big league!
Wow your kid is a thinker.
And it’s alright for hubby to come up with something after the moment, but what would he have said if he was there at the time?
I’d definitely save the next big question for him and see how he does.
You did fine You were honest and I think that’s so important if you’ve not got a really good cover story straight away. Heh, heh.
I used to drive my mom crazy with questions like that, and I agree with Jo, you handled it just fine. I once asked my mom where the universe was and if there were other universes besides ours. I suppose it’s the price you pay for having a clever and thoughtful child *grin* Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about your prize. I have a radio station mug and bumper sticker waiting for me to get to the post office to send it. I should have it in the mail by Saturday! I promise!
Jo – I suspect, that caught in the moment my husband would say “Go ask your mother!”
Thanks, Jen. I’m not sure how I’d address questions about the Universe. I’d probably just fall back on “Well, um… how was it in that Star Wars game you’re always playing on XBox? That’s how it probably is then…” I’ll keep an eye on my mailbox.
anonymom – I didn’t know that either. But here’s one for when the kids are old enough to notice (and probably complain) that friend X got more toys at Christmas than they did… A friend of mine explains the differences in bounty recieved by telling her children that Santa sends the parents a bill! So maybe friend X’s parents have more money and can afford a mortgage sized bill from Santa. I plan to use that one day. Knowing this kid, one day soon.
Hi Cousin! Re the Santa bill…I know someone who tells their kids that parents have to PAY SANTA!
Hi kvorrie! The more I think about it the more I like it. What’s delivered depends upon how much money Snags has saved up over the year… Think he’d fall for it? Nah, probably not. His memory is too good, he’ll remember he didn’t have to pay Santa last year and he’ll call me on it. ‘Course I could always say the old Santa retired and the new one’s doing things differently from here on out…
When my now fifteen-year-old daughter was in 4th grade she began to have her suspicions. She came home one day and said that kids at school had been saying there wasn’t really such a thing as the great SC. She said she of course knew there was since she was sure we, as in her parents, would never have bought her all those presents. As the weeks wore on, she really was figuring it out all on her own, and when she asked for my husband and I to write a phrase, and then compared our handwriting to a note SC had once written her that she had saved we told her, that yes, there was a Santa, but that it is your mom and dad, and that one day she would be able to be SC, too. She woke up early and climbed into bed with me every day for a week, and cried. I guess it was hard for her to let go, but she kept reminding herself that one day she would get to be someone very special. One small bonus was that she also came up to me every once in a while when she figured out yet another present she didn’t think we had gotten for her and gave me a hug and thanked me. It was hard, but also very sweet.
Luckily, we were home when she really wanted to know. I can’t tell you how many STUPID answers I have given in the car when I am paying more attention to driving than to what I am saying!!
Mrs. Weasley, When I was a kid Santa wrapped all our gifts in red or green tissue paper, no notes or tags attached. Gifts from mom and dad, aunts, uncles, etc… were in different paper. Santa will have to be careful in the coming years. He’s left notes in the past thanking us for the cookies we’ve left out…
Hey, so funny … I asked my husband what he would say (before I reached the end of your post), and he said, “Go ask your mother!”
My mom always said, “He always lives in your heart!” or “The spirit of Santa is real.” It worked for us for many years!
Thanks for visiting my site. 🙂
I thought your answer was great! Not a conversation I’m looking forward to . . .
i was alos wonder the same exact questions!!!!! and i totally loved the answer! i laughed the whole time i read through it!