I need help before my family totally traumatizes my kids. For whatever reason, they are convinced that my boys need to man up, or something equally stupid, According to the Tios, my little men need to be separated from the "boys"— and their primitas in the family — because only babies still believe in Santa. Ummm, they are 7 and 8! I love my tios and so do my boys, but I'm not ready to them to the wolves in the name of outdated machismo.
Dear Tinsled Off,
Trust me when I say that I am thinking All The Bad Words with you. Your boys are bebitos, for crying out loud. What do your tios have planned after they make them cry about Santa? Tattoos and a Tijuana hangover?
Oh HELL no.
Christmas is a funny thing for many of us hyphenated- Latinos and the suspension of disbelief is often a conscious choice for our children. Instead of going to sleep on Christmas Eve to a twinkling tree, a plate of cookies and a note for Santa, and the anticipation of Suddenly There presents on Christmas morning like their non-Latino friends, our kids are up until all hours of the night celebrating our own versions of Noche Buena. Whether it's tamales and arroz con frijoles or a turkey and bread stuffing, we wait until midnight to place the baby Jesus in the manger and then tear into the Christmas gifts that probably arrived with each family member and placed beneath the Christmas tree as they joined the festivities.
While I know some families go for an official Santa nod, complete with a visit from the man in red himself, mine never bothered. Instead, we just accepted that Santa had conveniently dropped our gifts off ahead of time and pretended not to notice that Tia Estela's gifts were wrapped in the same wrapping paper as Santa's. The truth is, though, that many of us know before we admit that we know, especially to ourselves. The bottom line is that your tios need to step off and let your boys hold on to the magic of the season until they are ready to move on. And as their mother, they also need to drop the machismo BS and respect your wishes... whether they like it or not.
How to handle it? Think like a mama bear instead of a good little Latina, accept that you'll piss off family members for speaking up, and tell them exactly how you feel. The way I see it, going off on a loca-rant on the Tios in the name of protecting childhood innocence is always a worthy cause. — Feliz Navidad, y'all.
Pauline Campos is Latina Magazine's #DIMELO advice columnist and founder of the #ChingonaFest community. Email her your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with her on her blog, www.aspiringmama.com, follow her on twitter: @pauline_campos, and learn more about #ChingonaFest by following on instagram and tumblr