This is the first year where both of my kids are in on the secret that there is no man who dresses in a red and white suit to deliver gifts to children around the world. The older kid figured it out over a year ago, and the younger one told me (while shoving a chunk of chocolate into his mouth last Easter morning) that "the Easter Bunny makes no sense. I don't think it's real."
He was nearly 9, and the wisdom in his eyes told me that it was time to let him in on the truth. Before the conversation was over, he told me that he also figured out that all the magic was really, "you and daddy." No more tooth fairy. No more Santa. No more magic. The only real bonus of this is no more Elf on the bloody Shelf. He is still buried in the corner of some closet, unmentioned by either child, six days after he would have supposedly "returned" from the North Pole. (insert huge sigh of relief here)
They are still little (although growing far more quickly than I am prepared for), and both want Christmas to hold a bit of magic. I try to do that with following traditions that bring them joy. We are really lucky that their Grandma gifted our family with the Advent Calendar that she made for her own boys when they were little. The husband has very fond memories of slowly decorating the Christmas tree each year. Like him and his brother did many years ago, my two boys take turns each day selecting the perfect place for their ornament.
A few years ago, in a fit of creative energy, I built our own Advent calendar that can a small token. I bring it out each, adding a special treat for each day. This year, hidden in each burlap bag, is a Lego character. We built a Lego Winter Wonderland, and each day a new Lego person joins the party.
I realized recently that the magic isn't in the big gestures and the gifts, though. It's in the small details. We build a gingerbread house each year, bake and decorate cookies together, buy a real tree from the garden centre around the corner and decorate it together.
The magic of Santa has faded away, but I hope to keep the magic of our family traditions going stronger with each year, so that when they are older and have their own little people in their lives, they will build on their own memories joy, and continue their own tradition of putting magic into the world