My 6-year-old daughter, Hope, knows that Santa Claus isn't real. Her best friend, Jessica, who just turned 7, recounted to her that she set out cookies and milk for Santa last year and when she woke up, the cookies had been eaten and the milk had been drank. Her conclusion is that Santa must be real. My daughter, now desiring to set out milk and cookies to see if they get eaten, is hoping to have been misled by her parents and for Santa to be real. A humorous Q&A session on the way home from church the other night didn't result in an admonition that she knew the truth about Santa. Such was not what I was after anyway. Instead, she contrived a new and completely baseless structure of Santa facts - never before purported in any of the annals of Santadom. She does have quite the imaginagination, however. Excerpts went something like this:
Me: Can Santa really eat all those cookies and drink all that milk?
Hope: Sure. That's why he's so fat. But Santa doesn't really go down the chimney, because he can't fit. His elves go down and Santa throws the presents down to them.
Me: Santa takes elves with him? I thought he left them all at the North Pole.
Hope: He doesn't even drive the sleigh. They drive it for him.
Me: How does Santa go around the whole world in a night stopping at everyone's house?
Hope: Well, he actually only goes to the houses in America. He has elves go to the rest of the world. And they're very fast elves, too. They go a hundred miles an hour.
Me: What about houses that don't have chimneys?
Hope: The elves just go in through the front door.
Me: I thought you said that Santa throws the presents down to them.
Hope: Yeah. The elves lean out the window to catch them.
Me: You know you get presents from Mommy and Daddy, Maw maw and Paw paw, and everyone. How do you know what toys Santa give you?
Hope: He leaves a note on the present.
Me: I've never seen it.
Hope: It's invisible.
Me: How do you know it's there if it's invisible?
Hope: Only kids can see it.
Me: I was a kid once. Why didn't I see it then?
Hope: Santa has only been delivering presents for a few years. He wasn't around when you were a kid.
Me: I heard about Santa when I was a kid, but I still didn't see any notes.
Hope: Oh, that was somebody different.
Me: How do you know so much about Santa?
Hope: I have a book that tells all about him.
Me: I didn't know you have a book. Can I see it?
Hope: No. I sold it.
Me: Who did you sell it to?
Hope: A boy at a yard sale...for fifty dollars.
Me: I didn't think you'd ever been to a yard sale. What yard sale was this?
Hope: It was at Jessica's. I gave it to her and she sold it.
Me: Did you get the fifty dollars?
Hope: No, it was Jessica's book. She just let me borrow it. So, do I get to set out cookies and milk?
I just wonder if I'm going to have to eat the cookies and milk...
...maybe if they're chocolate chip...