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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Ho Ho Ho No More?

Ho Ho Ho No More?


A few years ago, I lost my enthusiasm for Christmas.

I used to love shopping (okay, not in crowds, and mostly online), and if I didn’t have most of my gifts purchased by December 1st, I felt behind. I mailed my Christmas cards so early, people probably grumbled when they saw them. I baked; I decorated; I sang Christmas carols.

And then … my kids stopped believing in Santa.

It was a blow. My husband and I looked at each other in horror and disappointment when we realized, and I knew we were thinking the same thing. No more Santa-Tracking on the internet. No reason to buy secret Santa wrapping paper and hide it in the closet. No need to bring the presents downstairs secretly on Christmas Eve. No more half-eaten cookies and reindeer-chomped celery left on the hearth. It was the end of an era.

I’m sorry to say the joy kind of trickled out of Christmas … I don’t think I even bothered to put up decorations that year. Cards went out late. Presents were wrapped early and under the tree in advance, and the kids knew exactly what they were because they told us what to buy.

On Christmas morning, instead of bringing us Barbie Dolls to liberate from their packaging (savvy adults know to come armed with wire cutters and a seam ripper), the girls took their iTunes gift cards and jumped on the computer to upload their own songs. They put their headphones on and fell into their DS Nintendo games. Nobody needed me to unpackage anything, and there wasn’t a single item under the tree made by Fisher Price.

It’s been about 3 years since the axe fell on Santa, and I’m still trying to recover from it. Yes, yes, I know Santa is not the POINT of Christmas. But his passing left a gaping hole in our family traditions, and with our girls too big for “TOYS,” Christmas morning just isn’t as much fun (for me).

Maybe it’s time to develop some new Salerni Christmas traditions. My husband votes we start a tradition whereby “Gabbey and Gina visit the Grandparents” and “Dianne and Bob visit the Caribbean.”

But I was thinking more along the lines of something that included the teen and the tween. Any suggestions?

P.S. Since writing this, I was happy to learn my sister’s family is coming from Kansas to stay with us over Christmas – AND my 7-year old niece Olivia is still a believer. You know what that means? SANTA’S BACK AND THERE WILL BE BARBIES! (Gotta find my seam ripper.)

11 Responses to Ho Ho Ho No More?

  1. I dread this day. My kids are little so we can still use the threat, “I’m calling Santa if you don’t clean up your toys.” I had a hard time getting into the spirit this year, though. I’m not sure why. I laughed at the opening the Barbie boxes with wire cutters. So true. I think I have a few scars from past extractions.
    I’m glad you are having visitors, and that may put Santa back at your house. 🙂
    Have a great weekend!

  2. Linda G. says:

    Hooray for visiting nieces! 🙂

    Even though both my kids are legal adults, one of them is married (and is now Jewish, to boot), Christmas morning still retains its magic. How, you ask? Well, early on, TG and I incorporated a nice little Christmas tradition that transcends age and belief in Santa: Mimosas and cinnamon rolls for breakfast! Something all the adults in our family can get behind. 😉

  3. You could do what my parents did and just have more kids…:)

  4. Dianne, I understand completely what you are saying here. I, too, feel this way. And, after my parents died and my sister and her husband died, who always hosted the holiday gatherings, it’s never been the same. From Thanksgiving to Christmas it’s a struggle for me. I know, too, that the presents and Santa are not the point. But holidays are a time when families gather and for some of us, that just doesn’t happen. I’m even looking for a restaurant that’s open on Christmas. It will just be me, hubs and boys so we might go out to dinner that day. But, yeah. Don’t feel badly. I understand.

  5. My 10 yo old knows the truth. I told him as soon as his younger siblings find out, that’s the end of the presents from Santa. But in all honesty, I didn’t say that for their benefit. I said it for mine. 😉

  6. Lenny Lee* says:

    hi miss dianne! whoops! i didnt cover my eyes! ha ha. i could know for a a while mom was santa. 🙂 i got kinda sad reading what you said but im glad you got company coming and could get part of that happyness back. we dont do decorations or get a christmas tree now for 2 years cause of mom getting dead right at christmas time. but yesterday my brother andrew put some lights on the front windows and we didnt ever do that before yikes our house looks like a church. ack!) maybe doing that could be getting started on a new way of doing christmas without mom. im gonna get just a little tree. it was gonna be for just my bed room but now my brothers and sister said it could be in the den so we could all see it.im gonna put animals on it cause i love animals but i gotta tell you its just only gonna be a few cause i been looking and they cost sooo much. but thats ok cause i could just be happy having that little tree even with nothing on it. little by a little were gonna get our own new way of doing christmas.
    …big hugs from lenny

  7. Boomergolf says:

    Kevin came to us when he was 10 and said, “Look – I want the truth – is there really a Santa Claus?” When we told him he hit the roof! Didn’t speak to us for two days. He said, and I quote, “Does lying to little kids make you feel good? You’re both liars!!!” A little piece of me died that day…
    I miss Christmas.

  8. kellyhashway says:

    I’m not looking forward to this day at all! My daughter is only 3 so I’m hoping I have quite a bit of time. Still, I say you start a new tradition at Christmas time. One that will make the time of year special and make up for the Santa issue.

  9. I have a teen and a tween who both know the truth about Santa, but we all sort of pretend they don’t. We still do stockings on Christmas morning, and it’s nice.

    Since the kids don’t expect so much from Santa anymore, our new tradition is a family Christmas trip. We spend less and gifts and go somewhere together for a few days. We’ve been doing this for four years now, and we’ve made some wonderful memories that will last longer than most gifts!

    Greta Marlow

  10. Our daughter is 14 and Santa still comes to our house…I would be too sad if he didn’t. 🙁
    Dianne, it’s okay to have the heart of a child and to love the magic of Christmas. I’m so glad your sister’s family is coming. I know you’ll all have fun!

  11. Vicki Rocho says:

    Let the Santa legend live on. So what if they don’t believe…are they really going to tell you NOT to buy them that special gift? Maybe turn their ‘santa’ gift into a treasure hunt with clues and whatnot? Big hit w/my kids