“I want to be Santa Claus for Christmas,” said my three-year-old this evening while I was at the stove frying up potatoes and cabbage.
“Oh?” I said.
“Yeah. He wears a red-and-white hat and a coat and boots. And he has a beard.” When he put it that way, Santa’s outfit sounded surprisingly like the fire fighter outfit my son wore for Halloween (except for the beard).
“Okay,” I said, buying time as I wondered if my son thought all holidays were dress-up-like-someone-else occasions. Then I started wondering what exactly he knew about Santa. We don’t do Santa at our house, but we don’t censor Santa-related information, either. At the very least, he knows Santa from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but I didn’t get the impression this was the guy he was talking about.
So I asked, “Who is Santa Claus?”
“He’s a guy who wears a red-and-white hat, a coat, and…”
“Yes, that’s what he looks like. But what does he do?”
“I don’t know.” I turned away from the stove and bent down to speak with him closer to his level.
“You know what Santa does? Santa Claus brings toys to children who don’t have enough toys.”
My son blinked up at me.
I tried another angle. “Do you think he’ll bring you toys?”
“No,” he said, and ran away. I turned back to the stove and jostled the pan.
“I’m closing the toy room door,” he called back to me in a moment. “Now Santa can’t get my toys.”