“Ask your Dad if he thinks Santa is going to come to his house on Christmas, or just Grandma’s house.” It’s my ex’s year to have our daughter on Christmas, and I wanted to be sure she’d have presents to open Christmas morning. My ex is Dutch, you see, and celebrates Sinterklaas early in December. (Sinterklaas is a figure like Santa Claus, if Santa Claus traveled with 6 to 8 black men and didn’t know when Jesus’ birthday is.)
Knowing my ex, I didn’t think he’d bother getting our 6-year-old any additional Christmas presents, especially because he’d already blown his Sinterklaas wad on the American Girl doll I told him our daughter wanted. (In standard “divorced parents who don’t communicate well” fashion, he didn’t mention to me that he actually went ahead and bought the doll. I only found out when I called to see what Sinterklaas brought. Then I was told that Rebecca Rubin is not allowed to leave his house. Another Dutch guy holding a Jewish girl in his attic. Typical.)
“My Dad says he thinks Santa is coming to his house, too!,” my daughter told me, resting the phone on her shoulder for a sec. “Whew,” I thought. Thank God. I called my mother later and said, “Santa is coming to both houses this year.”
“Good,” she said. “But I don’t like the fact that that doll can’t leave his house. I think maybe Santa ought to bring one here, too.”
“Oh boy,” I said. “If that’s what you want to do.”
My daughter hasn’t questioned the Santa myth at all, which might be because we don’t talk about it too much. I’ve never wanted to stress the details with her about Santa climbing down the chimney on Christmas Eve and all that, because:
2) Santa somehow knows to come to Grandma’s house, not ours.
3) when you’re divorced, Santa comes a day early every other year.
My daughter thinks Santa’s first stop on his trip around the world December 24 was Grandma’s house, then all of the homes of the other divorced people. I guess that’s why she didn’t question the fact that Santa showed up at her dad’s during the day on Christmas Eve so she could open her presents that night. (So much for having presents to open Christmas morning…)
But my daughter was more than thrilled with the loot she got, because Santa brought her the few things she really wanted (see below) and the rest of us got her the few things she needed. (Pajamas, socks and underwear are such underrated gifts. I’d still love to get those!) I’m okay with the fact that my mom engaged in the ugly competition to buy the best Christmas gift, because why not, right? I started a dialogue with my ex about the gifts my daughter wanted, and he took the information and ran with it without ever responding. They say all’s fair in love and war, and divorce is where the two meet. As long as my daughter isn’t overindulged (she isn’t) and she doesn’t feel that her parents are competing for her affection (she doesn’t, since neither of us buys much of anything “extra”), one self-satisfied purchase isn’t going ruin everything. Right, Santa?