How do you keep Santa secrets from young children while being with them all day?
My parents were sneaky Santa Clauses. I tried to stay up until 2 or 4 AM, but I never caught them. When I woke up, beautifully wrapped presents magically appeared by my pillow every year. I'm embarrassed a little, but I believed in Santa until almost 12 years old. Then my thoughtful neighbor girl, 10, told me one day, "Please don't tell my youngest sister about Santa. She still believes in him. But I don't understand why anyone wouldn't notice that he is our parents." Within a split second, all the wonders made sense and I managed to reply, "Yeah, neither do I."
Even after I told my mom what I had learned that day, my parents continued the tradition until I was out of the house. When I visit them during Christmas, they still do it.
Now I want to do the same to my children, but being a homeschooling mom, I'm finding this task a little more difficult than I anticipated. I remembered what my children said they wanted from the stores we went; took my husband there on a date night and asked for his opinions; and we are still discussing what we should get. My husband didn't complain, but this was more of a chore than what he wanted to do on a date night: Watch a movie and relax.
I sometimes feel like giving in by telling my children so that I could buy what they want in front of them, wrap them in our wrapping paper to save money, and give them out without secrets. But I cannot undo the effect, so we're still hanging on. I thought of buying things online, but then my children will see the UPS coming and wonder why Mommy doesn't open packages with them only in December. I could do this during summer, but then their Christmas presents may not be what they want at the time. I thought of sending them to my relatives, but they don't like keeping extra stuff in their houses.
Wrapping presents in secret is another hard task. I have been doing it every year, but I may start asking my husband to just measure the presents and go buy bags. Last year, I wrapped them in our wrapping paper and our oldest daughter asked why Santa and we had the same papers. Epic fail. I told her that Santa wanted to borrow our wrapping paper. Horrible, I know. I'm not a good lier. But she wants to believe in Santa, so she is still believing. So I need to be extra careful this year. I don't want them to hear the sound of bags either, so my husband will have to bag them in his car. But then they may stay up and see my husband bringing in presents to the house. I could ask him to put them in a black plastic bag, but that looks suspicious too.
How do you guys do it? Did you already tell them who Santa was? If so, how old were they? I have 4 children and the oldest is 8 years old.