Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Will Never Confess to Being Santa

Note: Originally posted at

At the bus stop last week after the kids were picked up by cheerful Mr. Ray, the driver of the bus, the moms discussed Santa Claus. My son Patch is the oldest on this stop at 10 years old. The moms asked me if I had told him that there was no Santa Claus. I looked at them as though they had three heads each. “Of course not,” was my reply.   I was the oldest of three girls growing up in a suburb of Chicago. My parents did plenty that I question now, but they certainly got the whole Santa thing down pat. I distinctly remember at the age of 11 asking my parents if they were Santa. With a look of puzzled disgust, they both replied that they were not. They reminded me that, as parents, they were not the most generous of people, so why on earth would they give me the toy last year that drove them nuts? They also made it perfectly clear that if one says one does not believe in Santa then Santa does not come for that person. Period. End of story. Naturally, I didn’t speak of this again. When I was a very jaded thirteen year old, I remember hearing something rattle on the roof (probably my parents in the attic). Believe it or not, I thought just for a flash of a second, maybe it was Santa. I love the fact that I am continuing this tradition. Santa is about giving. Santa is about goodness. Santa is about anticipating something magical. In this brutal dog eat dog world, I like that for a few weeks each year we focus on giving, goodness and magic. Sure the rest of the world is doing their level best to make this all about consumption and that annoying Elf, but the spirit of Santa is really above all of that. One of my bus stop moms asked if I was concerned that I was lying to my children. I have no qualms whatsoever about it. I asked her if they had ever lied to their children about anything. Reluctantly she said yes, but it was because she didn’t want to hurt her kid’s feelings and it wasn’t a big deal. My response to her was, “What’s the big deal about perpetuating the spirit of Santa Claus, even though you are the one giving gifts? What’s wrong about perpetuating the magic and hopeful anticipation of what he brought you?” I don’t see how it is any different than telling your 6 year old that her outfit she picked out herself which is completely mismatched, is beautiful. My theory is that parents want to take the credit for the gifts they give their children. I think that it is understandable but a bit selfish. Is Christmas really about the giving or is it about receiving the appreciation for what you have given? I still get presents back in Chicago from Santa at the ripe old age of 45. Each year, I reflect back at the memory of my 13 year old self. Despite knowing full well that my parents had to be Santa, I love to remember that split second of when I thought maybe, just maybe, the magic is real. My adult self now knows that indeed it is real and I am thankful that I have a role to play in this magic.   Image via

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