I turned it around and asked him what he thought Santa was up to right now.
Without a second's hesitation, here's what he told me:
"Well Gram, Santa is prob’ly practicing HO-HO-HO-ing, and polishing his sleigh, and feeding all the reindeer.
I think Rudolph is ready to lead and his nose is already shining.
The elves are prob’ly putting toys in Santa’s red bag, and even if they get up early every morning, it will still take them all the way to Christmas Eve to get all the toys in the sleigh!
The elves are prob’ly cleaning up the workshop now, 'cause pretty soon, they have to start making toys for next year.
I bet elves are still finding wish lists from kids all over the place, and they prob'ly should tell Santa if the kids were naughty -- but maybe they won‘t, ‘cause tattling isn‘t nice.
Mrs. Claus is prob'ly cooking a lot, 'cause it wouldn’t be good to have a skinny Santa -- [just in case somebody peeks when he comes down the chimney]. She's even baking stuff for Santa’s trip and getting carrots for the reindeer in case they get hungry. But Santa gets cookies and milk from kids at the houses where he goes, so that will keep him fat, too.
By the time Christmas Eve Day is here, the only things Mrs. Claus has to do is make sure his red suit is clean, his boots are shiny, and that Santa takes a nap, ‘cause he can't be cranky on Christmas Eve!"
I asked him, "Do you know why we give and get presents at Christmas?"
He said, “Sure, Grammy. It’s ‘cause God let His little boy, Jesus, be born. See we can’t give Him birthday presents ‘cause now He lives up in heaven, so they invented Santa Claus to give Jesus’ presents to kids.
Then -- I don’t know zactly when -- but then Santa Claus got real. Gram, did you know we go to church to thank God for giving us Jesus and for giving us His presents?”
“I sure do. How do you know Santa Clause is real?” I asked him.
“Grammy, if he isn’t real, how can we write letters to him? How can we sit on his lap and talk to him? [a loud sigh on the phone] It’s just something all kids know.
After we hung up, I let my thoughts drift. Who could argue the innocent wisdom of a five-year-old?
As warm and fuzzy as it all is, I can’t help but get just a little melancholy at Christmas time. It's all over in such a short time -- about as long as it takes all the little ones to unwrap what it took us weeks and months to buy.
When we look at Christmas through a child‘s eyes, believing in Santa Claus isn’t really all that bad, is it? He is pretend, yes, but as long as children understand the truth about Christmas, then the belief in Santa is harmless -- and it brings such joy to children.
Santa and the whole mystique of Christmas is something we never forget. Let them pretend and believe ... it's such a huge part of childhood and, in the blink of an eye it's over, like a brilliant flash of light.
I'll always remember my Christmases. I had the most fun with things that sparked creativity and imagination -- the box a huge present came in so easily became a castle or a pirate ship. The smaller boxes we taped together, making all sorts of ‘necessary’ additions to our cardboard wonders.
As I sit here this morning, wrapping a doll cradle for my granddaughter, I'm thinking about what my grandson said. It was all true. The cradle is a birthday gift I wish I could give to Baby Jesus.
Oh gee. Wait a second. Look at this ... I just finished a roll of wrapping paper and this long empty tube would make a superfantabulistic telephone! Hey, ya wanna play?
"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck