As the mom of a not-yet 2-year-old toddler, there are times when I wish I could appeal to the idea of an omnipresent, omniscient character who decides to gift children based on their behavior. Times like when my toddler is knocking everything off of the shelves at the grocery store, or hitting our cat in the face. But then I remember that there are actually a ton of benefits to having a kid who has no idea who Santa is, and I'm going to enjoy this brief period in my son's life for as long as it lasts.
Right now, my toddler's idea of Christmas spirit is snatching jingle bells off our Christmas tree and throwing them around the living room. He realizes that something is up — we don't usually have a tree inside the house — but mostly he just seems confused by the fact that we put all these balls on our inside house tree that neither he nor the cat are technically supposed to play with. "Why put toys all over the inside house tree if I can't play with them, Mama?" his little eyes ask. Because Christmas, little one. Because Christmas.
Sure, we lose out on the whole "I'll be extra-angelic for the rest of the year because of Santa surveillance" thing, though I'm not sure we're entirely on board for that idea, anyway. Either way, we've got time to figure it out, because we're in the fortunate period of life where our son is blissfully unaware that this is even a thing. I'm also kicking back and enjoying this pre-Santa life, because:
You Don't Have To Explain All These Other Santas Hanging Around
If Santa lives and works at the North Pole, then how is he simultaneously at every mall, and ringing bells on street corners, and playing instruments in the subway? I don't know how to answer that question, and I don't have to know for at least another year, I think.
You Don't Have To Address The Ridiculousness Of People Being Upset Over Black Santa
My partner and I believe in talking about tough issues with our kids, but there's no way to completely break down the stupidity of people being mad that the Mall of America has a Black Santa Claus without also recognizing that, duh, Santa Claus is a fictional character so he can literally be any color. Fortunately we can just sit this conversation out entirely with the toddler.
You Don't Have To Stand In Line To Take Pictures
Goodbye, long lines and screaming children at the mall. Hello, ordering gifts on your phone while a baby snoozes on your chest.
You Don’t Have To Address Santa’s Morally Dubious Reindeer
Rudolph blew the whistle on a completely under-reported Christmas story long ago: the other reindeer are jerks. How are they still employed on Santa’s staff if they’re mean to other reindeer? This is supposed to be an operation built on goodness and holiday cheer. So far, Santa’s been all “no comment” about this travesty, which flies for now because my toddler doesn’t know about him, and calls the reindeer he sees around town “Hawse? Cow?” But eventually, Santa needs to answer for this so I can explain it to my baby.
You Can Leave Out Whatever Snack You Want For “Santa” To Eat Later
Y'all can keep your milk and cookies. Last year I put out charcuterie and red wine. That snack is there for whomever ends up staying up late wrapping gifts (aka you), so it might as well be something you actually like.
You Don't Have To Answer Tough Questions About Gift Origins…
“So like, why do we get some Christmas gifts from friends and family members, but other gifts are from Santa? And how come Santa gets me gifts but you and daddy don't? I don't even know Santa!” is a conversation I won't have with my toddler for at least another year or two.
...Or Answer For Any Discrepancies Between Their Letter To Santa And What Actually Materialized Under The Tree
Bless you, oblivious baby-toddler, for not even knowing you were going to get any presents on Christmas, let alone having an exacting Christmas list that I couldn't possibly fulfill.
Also, thank you for being so excited about boxes and wrapping paper that you don’t even care that you mostly got clothes.
There's No Secret-Spoiling Confusion Over Stories With Different Ideas About Santa
“But how is Santa a cat, and a bear, and an old human man? And how does he get to every house in the world in a single night? Even with the benefit of time zones, that math doesn’t seem to work out,” said no baby ever.
You Can Consider Introducing Other Holiday Characters Or Dream Up Totally New Traditions
There are tons of other Christmas characters in the world, besides Santa and his crew. Before your kids learn about the Santa story from everywhere else, your house can basically be a blank slate. Maybe you want to double up on Halloween, and center your winter holiday celebrations on Krampus or Belsnickel. Or maybe you want to hang out with La Befana and exchange candy. There are so many possibilities.
You Don't Have To Consider The Elf On The Shelf Debate
No Santa, no elves. Life can be so simple sometimes.
You Don't Have To Be As Careful About Hiding Gifts
Babies and young toddlers have no idea that the stuff you're buying and stashing around the house should have been coming from the North Pole. So there's no stress about just putting stuff wherever it fits until it’s time to wrap it and put it under the tree.
You Don't Have To Answer Awkward Questions About Chimneys
This one's hard enough if you have a fireplace, and have to account for a large man fitting down your chimney. It's even worse for those of us in apartments and homes that don't even have a chimney.
You Have A Chance To Think About How To Explain Santa Later
Because Santa imagery is everywhere, our kids will all be exposed it at some point. These couple of years when they don't know what it's all about are a good time to figure out if you want to go all in on the story, just teach your kid to keep the secret from other kids, or anything in between.
Until then, you can kinda take it easy on this Christmas business, and do only the stuff that interests you, guilt-free. A day without mom guilt? That's the greatest gift of all.