a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Nov, 2006

Letters to Santa

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Misc. life

The girls wrote their letters to Santa the other day. We got it out of the way early. Why? Because …

… mummy wanted to get all of the shopping out of the way early. And I did. It’s done! Really. This is a first for me. I did it (in consultation with Mark) in one big swoop at the Grand River Toy Company. They have a great selection of super toys* and the shipping is cheap. I figured (a) they were all toys I’d buy anyway and (b) online shopping saves me a heckuva lot of time.

So, yes, the letters.

Sarah's Christmas wish list 2006Emma’s is here. Sarah’s is here if you would like to know what they desire most in this world.

But … the jig might be up. Emma’s not buying the Santa act anymore.

I was helping Sarah write her letter and she turned to me.

“Mumma,” she asked. “Emma says that it’s not SANTA who gives the presents, it’s you and dada.”

I was shocked. When had this conversation taken place?

My first instinct: DENY. And deflect the question back at them.

“WHAAAT?!?!” I said. “You cannot possibly think it’s me and dad. Do you REALLY think there isn’t a Santa Claus?”

The girls looked sheepish for a moment. HA! Just the reaction I was looking for.

And then Emma piped up.

“I’ve seen all the toys at the store,” she said. “And the name of the store is sometimes on the toys that are under the tree.”

I flashed back to my own childhood, and the answer my mother gave to me.

“Do you really think Santa and the elves have time to make EVERY SINGLE TOY for EVERY SINGLE child in the whole wide world? Of course they don’t! When they run out of time they go shopping! But perhaps they go at night and slip the money under the door?”

Emma wasn’t buying it, mostly because I can’t lie to save my skin.

She pointed a finger at me, “you’re SMILING MUM!”  And of course, that made me smile more. “You’re not telling the truth because you’re SMILING!”

“I’m smiling because you’re so funny! Haha! Like Santa has time to make all the toys! Haha! You’re the funny one!”


Sarah was quiet throughout this entire exchange, dutifully decorating her letter. But the hamster wheel of her brain was turning. I could practically hear the squeaking.

Mark walked Emma to school this morning. It was the only thing they talked about. She’s a logical girl. And we’ve never really pushed the Santa thing. We just let them believe and never said otherwise.

So now what? What would you do O’ wise internets. Emma’s in grade two. Tell her the truth? Or wait?

* Mark vetoed the sushi slicing kit I wanted to get for Sarah. :(

12 Responses to "Letters to Santa"

1 | Chantal

November 8th, 2006 at 9:51 am


I’m such a mean old Mom, but I enjoy that my oldest knows about Santa. She found out a while ago, after I slipped up about a magazine subscription “Santa” had gotten her and then she flat out asked. Now, our 8.5 year old is looking like Sarah, the wheels are turning.

The first thing I told Kristyn was to be sure to keep it quiet. Don’t ruin it for her sisters and brother who still believe or friends at school.

In the end, it was sort of a relief, especially once she asked. I figured if she asked and I denied, that was lying. As long as they’re not asking, I’m not telling. (Ah, Mommy logic!) Besides, now I finally started to get credit for those awesome gifts!

2 | Anna

November 8th, 2006 at 10:07 am


“I” want that sushi kit! :-)

That’s a cute story, not sure if I’m ready for those yet. We’ve come up with a compromise, some special things are from Santa and the rest from us. He still thinks that the train table last year was from Santa, but he knows that the rest came from aunts, grandparents etc.

3 | Myra

November 8th, 2006 at 10:15 am


Ditto on Grand River Toy Company – I’ve even used it to send gift suggestions to family when they ask what our girls would like. Can’t beat it.

I am/not looking forward to that time either. But I have to say our precocious 5-year old certainly challenging my own “storytelling” abilities. At least she’s believing… for now.

Love their lists!

p.s. can you tell me what Bobbleheads are? It’s the flavour of the month with my eldest and I’ve never seen the durn things! Thx

4 | andrea

November 8th, 2006 at 10:22 am


They call them bobbleheads, but the product is actually called “Littlest Pet Shop” … they’re cute, but like many children’s toys you can “collect” enough characters and accessories to fill a trunk.

This will give you an idea of what I mean.

5 | Nyami

November 8th, 2006 at 10:27 am


But the sushi kit was so adorable!

Anyhow, to me it almost sounds like Emma “knows” (but Sarah seems to be willing to believe a little longer). Personally, I wouldn’t bring the issue up unless she mentionned it again. But it sounds to me like she figured it out already. I think I was in grade 2 or so myself when I found out. But it never ruined the “Christmas Magic”. It just makes you thankful for what your parents are doing. =)

6 | Myra

November 8th, 2006 at 10:45 am


Thx Andrea… that’s what I thought and of course when I suggested “Did you play with the Littlest Pet Shop at Suzie’s house”? I get “No, they were bobbleheads!” with a sigh and “gee-mom-you-are-like-so-out-of-it” tone.

I’m off to shop….

7 | liss76

November 8th, 2006 at 11:27 am


My mother thinks I’m a spoilsport, but I’m really not pushing the idea of Santa. The kids get a stocking and we make a big deal about helping each other fill them and keep the contents “secret” from the recipient. We talk about how some kids believe in Santa, but say that we don’t.

We don’t say that the other kids’ Mommies and Daddies pretend to be Santa. We present it more as “we believe Christmas is about Jesus and his birthday”, that some people celebrate Hannukah/etc instead at this time of year, and some people like to believe in Santa.

My parents really pushed the Santa thing when I was a kid, but I don’t recall believing it very long. I can remember wondering what my parents would get for my “Santa” gift when I was about 6 years old. :o) I was a very skeptical child–#1 seems to be much the same, so it’s just as well that we aren’t pushing it I think.

Better for the other kids’ families that mine doesn’t feel the need to “prove” that Santa doesn’t exist. ;o)

8 | BeachMama

November 8th, 2006 at 11:35 am


Show them the movie “The Santa Clause” it explains how Santa can do all those wonderful things, in a fun kinda way. Otherwise, I don’t really know. A believed in Santa until he was about 10 and it was just like all of a sudden he knew. J is just trying to figure out the whole Christmas thing this year, it is going to be a magical season this year.

Love the Grand River link, thanks.

9 | crunchy carpets

November 8th, 2006 at 12:21 pm


Santa was always part of the magic and even when kids told me he wasn’t real…my mom always said that I could believe what ever I wanted to.

So we never really talked about it..cept when I exclaimed that Santa used the same wrapping paper or look, Santa put the cookies back in the bag instead of eating them….

And the biggest when mom was trying to explain about expense and so for me getting too greedy….I would say..but Santa can get that.

She explained that the parents set the cost limit on gifts with Santa in advance!

10 | kelly c

November 8th, 2006 at 2:06 pm


I figured out santa wasn’t real around the same age… I saw my mom putting out gifts the night before, and when I saw them the next morning they were said they were from santa… that should teach me to sneak around on christmas eve!

I didn’t say anything that day, but later on my mom explained that santa is the spirit of giving.

The next year we continued with the santa gifts but she signed the gifts ‘your friendly neighbourhood santa’.

I don’t know if I will go through this this year, my oldest is 7 too and just a little to sceptic for her own good.

This year should be interesting to say the least!

11 | DaniGirl

November 9th, 2006 at 1:42 pm


We open the majority of our gifts Christmas Eve, with my parents and extended family, just like we did when I was a kid. There’s always a gift from Santa on Christmas morning, and stockings.

I’m waffling on the Santa thing. I feel a little bit bad creating the deception, if you can believe how neurotic that sounds. I think I might have to blog this myself one of these days…

12 | Marla

November 9th, 2006 at 7:38 pm


The letters are just classic – the drawings, I love. I am so looking forward to Josie’s.

Your family just oozes charm, you know.

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  • andrea tomkins: I'm glad you find it restful Bonnie! I didn't on that day. :)
  • Bonnie Upton: I have a true love of this place. I drive to and from Ottawa from the NewmArket area to visit my sister snd now my son who attended uOttawa and has c
  • Amy: That sounds fantastic! As with most travelling, parts are much more comfortable when you're telling them afterwards, but they make a good story.
  • andrea tomkins: If I had to pick, Grundy wins! :)
  • Shawn: What did u like more, Restoule or Grundy? Thank you Shawn
  • andrea tomkins: Yes! I've seen the boiling water method! I never really bothered with it because I am a lazy baker. :) It is worth finding a recipe that uses less ye
  • Amy: I made a no-knead version that didn't use a Dutch oven (I don't have one and didn't feel like investing in one just for that). You put a small contai

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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