It’s one thing to keep up the façade about Dora the Explorer, but it’s much more meaningful when a child keeps the illusion of Santa alive for a younger sibling. This is a glimpse of the goings-on in our household concerning the jolly old man this past Christmas:
The Boy: Does Santa really exist?
The Girl (hesitating): Do you think he exists?
The Boy: I think so.
The Girl: Then I think he does, too.
Then on Christmas Eve, she reminded him to leave cookies (we didn’t have cookies, so we made do with lemon pound cake) and milk out for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeer, and write a quick note. And when he fretted that Santa wouldn’t be able to come visit us because the friend’s house where we were staying was only equipped with a woodstove and not a chimney, big sis and our friend quickly came to the rescue: “Oh don’t worry: Santa knows to come through the window when there isn’t a chimney.”
The next morning, a letter appeared on the top of the wood stove, written in as neat cursive writing as a nine-year-old can manage:
Thank you for the cake and milk and carrot for my reindeer. You have been a very good boy this year. Hope you have fun skiing today!
And though I teased the Girl that maybe next year, Santa should block print his letter so that a five-year-old can read it more easily than cursive writing, of course, I was immensely touched; she had put in so much effort to keep the dream alive for at least a little while longer.