(Hank, Pai and I are sat at the table for a late dinner. Molly, who ate much earlier, is sat at the table with a doll house and singing to herself while she decorates each room)
Molly: (singing to the tune of jingle bells) Pai Natal, Pai Natal, Natal, Natal, Natal (Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.)
Me: This is the year.
Hank: This is what year?
Me: This is the year Molly will understand and be excited for Christmas.
Pai: The last two years she was too small.
Hank: Oh. (pause)
Me: We have to decide what we are going to do this year about Pai Natal (Santa Claus). Pai (dad) is against Pai Natal (Santa Claus) coming to our house.
Pai: I do not want Pai Natal (Santa Claus) to enter our home. I like to make Christmas. I don’t like anyone else doing it for me.
Hank: So you already wrote the letter for Molly?
Me: Nope. We needed to have a family meeting about this. Do we want the same for Molly? Are we three happy to make the magic for her?
Pai: You know how I feel.
Hank: Some kids don’t want to believe and magic is only real as long as you believe it is real. Pai Natal (Santa Claus) is magic and if you don’t believe he isn’t real.
Me: What do you believe?
Hank: I believe in magic. I also believe that you make magic.
Me: (nodding, happy that my lectures over the years have stuck)
Hank: I don’t think Pai Natal (Santa Claus) should come to our house. We should write him the letter saying “no, thank you.”
Molly: (singing, focus still on adding more and more teeny-tiny milk bottles to her tiny refrigerator) Please, No Thank You. Please, No Thank You. Please, Please, Please, Please, No Thank You.
Hank: But how do you even get a letter to Pai Natal? Through our fairy door?
Me: I am sure Paige Portensia Xanthro Sprigh is far too busy with teeth collection to handle a message to the North Pole. No, we send a letter through the post office.
Hank: The actual Post Office?
Pai: The Post Office takes letters to Pai Natal (Santa Claus) very seriously.
Me: Seriously. We will use the beautiful stationary that papa bought me in Vienna and I will write to Pai Natal (Santa Claus) this weekend asking him to officially exclude Molly from his deliveries.
Hank: But how does the Post Office know where to send the letter?
Me: Easy, we use his address.
Hank: Pai Natal (Santa Clause) has an address?
Me: Sure. Pai Natal, Pole Norte. (Santa Clause, North Pole).
Hank: And it gets to him?
Me: The mail is always delivered.
Me: Well, I don’t know, maybe we should ask our friend, Anna, in Lapland.
Pai: Good idea. She would know.
Hank: In Finland?
Me: Yes. Anna lives in Lapland, the very edge of the human world. The last human outpost before the North Pole. Maybe she will know how the post is handled.
Hank: It is hard giving Pai Natal (Santa Claus) to other children who really need him. Teachers and neighbors don’t understand. I will help Molly with that part.
Me: OH the stress and drama we endured every year! You were beside yourself with worry that Pai Natal (Santa Claus) would get confused and bring you a present anyway. It was a nightmare for your poor nerves and mine!
Hank: I know now that wouldn’t have happened.
Me: (raised eyebrow)
Pai: You do?
Hank: Yes, you two made the magic. O Espírito de Natal (The spirit of Christmas) is made by parents.
Pai: In our house.
Hank: In every house.
Me: (nodding, because no one ever called him dumb, not one day, and suddenly, although he was born yesterday, Hank is nine and he gets it)
Pai: (making eye contact with Hank, acknowledging that we know he knows what he knows we know)
Hank: I don’t mind. I like it this way.
Me: And this year the magic will be made by three and it will be extra special.
Hank: I’m excited to make magic for my sister.
Pai: (winking at me) You learned from the best!