Brian and I never liked lying to our kids about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or any other fabled Holiday character. However, we also didn’t want to squash the magic out of the event with the truth either. So when one of our kids asked about Santa or the Easter Bunny, we’d always respond with, “Well, what do you think?” Often, we were blown away by the explanations my kids came up with.
One year when my son, Nate, was seven years old Mrs. Claus perplexed him.
“She’s got to be dead by now, right? Santa’s magic, but she’s just a regular lady. There’s no way she’s still alive—“
We tried hiding our shock. This had never come up before with his sister. Instead, we used our standby of, “Well, what do you think?”
He thought for a minute and then sighed. “Yeah, she’s dead.”
Mrs. Claus hasn’t been brought up since. I wondered what Nate thought about afterward. Did he picture Santa Claus the widower, living in solitude at the North Pole with nothing but elves and his wife’s memories to occupy him? Did Santa travel to the cemetery and bow over Mrs. Claus’s grave with a bouquet of Poinsettias? Would he join a dating service trying to find the next future, Mrs. Claus? I don’t know. I never asked.