Yesterday I took the kids to the mall to buy them "Nutcracker" dresses, which are different than the "Christmas" dresses my mother-in-law bought them. Thankfully, I was able to find each girl an outfit that both she and I liked. Lily selected a little pleated, plaid skirt and a pretty white cardigan. Ella picked out a pretty red dress with an empire waist and a sash - very simple and very pretty. We were all happy, well except for Lily who wanted the skirt AND a dress.
After picking out the dresses and getting a present for my sister and a pair of black dress shoes for Ella, we went to meet Santa Claus. Lily had been pestering me during the whole excursion about meeting Santa, so she was so happy when we finally headed that direction. When we got there, however, Lily hid behind me and peeked out at Santa, not saying a word. Ella, for the first time ever, voluntarily spoke to Santa, telling him her name, her siblings' names, and what she wanted. I was so impressed with her.
As we walked away, Lily asked if that Santa was the real Santa. I paused for a moment to consider my answer, because I didn't want to mess up the Christmas magic. I finally said that I though maybe he was a "helper" Santa, not the real Santa. Lily looked perplexed, so I decided to call in the big guns and asked Ella why she thought Santa had helpers. She thought for a minute and then said, "Well, it's a very busy time of year for Santa, and he can't be at the mall AND at the North Pole making toys. So he has helpers who come talk to the kids while he works." Lily bought it hook line and sinker. Phew.
I was also relieved to hear that Ella still believes in Santa. I know she's at that age where kids start figuring out the truth, whether they come to the realization on their own or they hear it from friends at school. Ella believes in it enough that she can rationalize the "helper" Santa at the mall. I'm glad we'll have complete Christmas magic for one more year.
The girls have both written their lists to Santa, and they're very funny. Lily's suffers from a lack of originality - she has asked for princess everything. She wants a princess bike helmet, a princess puzzle, a princess journal, a princess timer (whatever that is), and marbles. Ella has grander desires. She's asked for a new bike (which she's getting), new mixes for her Easy Bake oven, an iPod (which she is NOT getting), and marbles. They both played marbles with our neighbor, and now they want their own sets. I think those may be stocking presents.
They are both also getting rolls of tape in their stockings. It because a tradition three years ago after Ella opened the tape in her stocking, held it up in the air, and yelled "Santa brought me tape!" It was her favorite present of the year. I'll be so sad the Christmas that the girls don't think tape is a good present.