I’ve always been a person, who since my childhood lived half my life in an imaginary world. Believing in Santa Claus was one of those myths, and one that I regret ever having to give up on.
Christmas was always a special time in our house. My Mom and Dad played along with the Santa myth to the fullest, and besides the real Christmas celebration of Jesus’ birth, there was plenty of fun, pageants, caroling, sleigh-rides, visits to see the Christmas lights, and best of all, the yearly visit to see dear old Santa Claus.
When I was married and had my own children, I always tried to make Christmas the same kind of magical, exciting time my parents had made it for me. We decorated the tree, had parties, went to visit Santa in the stores, and took part in all the Christmas festivities in our community. Christmas was always a special, fun time for my children, just as it had been for me.
Then one year, the year my son, Stevie, had turned sic and my daughter, Andrea, was about to turn two, the Christmas fantasy got spoiled. That was the year Mattel put out a new kind of doll—one that talked. Her name was Chatty Cathy, a blonde little cherub with a saucy face. When you pulled the ring in her back, she spouted various lines of dialogue such as “Hello, I’m Chatty Cathy. What’s your name?” I couldn’t resist buying one for my little daughter.
One Christmas Eve, after the children had been tucked into bed and I had waited to make sure they were asleep, my husband and I started to put out the toys from Santa under the tree. This ritual also involved eating the cookies and Christmas cake the children had left on a decorated plate, and drinking the beer that would help refresh Santa on his journey. After this, we took the carefully hidden packages out of the closet and began to set them up: the usual GI-Joe toys and cowboy regalia for Stevie, the little girl trinkets for Andrea. And Chatty Cathy. I couldn’t resist pulling the ring to her the doll talk. She was so cute| I knew my daughter would be thrilled with her. Chatty Cathy and I chatted for awhile, then I put her in her special place under the Christmas tree.
The next morning, after all the excitement of finding what Santa had left under the tree, opening presents and trying things out was over, I noticed that my son was unusually quiet. I wondered if he was disappointed with his gifts. No, it wasn’t that. Very quietly, so as not to spoil things for his little sister, Stevie said to me: “I know that Santa didn’t really bring Chatty Cathy, Mom. Because I heard you talking while you were playing with her.”
I felt so bad! Chatty Cathy had given away the secret of Santa Claus and spoiled the Christmas surprise for my son. After that, Christmas wasn’t quite the same for Stevie, although we always tried to make it just as much fun. Stevie was a good sport and went along the Santa Claus myth for his little sister’s sake.