"Who told you that?" I asked.
"Nobody," he said. "I just know."
"Well that's news to me because last I checked Santa was real," I said.
His brother never really questioned the existence of Santa until recently. The last two years we've taken to writing their names on presents from Santa left handed so that they wouldn't be able to recognize our hand writing.
This year my 7-year-old said he was going to ask Santa for his autograph because then he'd know it wasn't me - because after all - I would be asleep when Santa came to deliver the goods. This is the same kid who asked me how Santa got into houses that didn't have fireplaces; we need to update our folk tales quickly if we want to keep up with the future generations.
I've gone to great lengths already to preserve the lore surrounding Christmas.
My youngest also told me that the Santa at the mall was fake. I rallied and explained that Santa can't be everywhere during the Christmas season so he has people stand-in for him. "The elves are fake too Dad," he said.
If you were at the mall, you probably saw the wind go out of my sails at that moment.
"Yeah, those are fake elves," I said.
Then we sat there in silence watching kids get their pictures taken on Santa's lap.