Every year on Christmas Eve I try to stay up long enough to search the skies to see if I can see Santa. Juvenile? Maybe. But I don’t care. I know he’s out there somewhere, and I’m wondering why he has neglected bringing me gifts for the past 15+ years!
When I was fifteen I wrote a letter to Santa and tucked it into a tabletop tree because that year our tree was ruined in a flood and my aunt gave us a little one so we wouldn’t be without. With tiny ornaments. Well, no one knew I had put the letter in there and I thought maybe I’d written it too late, or that maybe I should have sent it off. The cost of a stamp and envelope would have been testimonly to my belief. All I asked for, in all sincerity, was world peace. I know Santa can’t deliver something like that. But the letter was still in the tree so I thought, maybe he’s not real after all because wouldn’t he have at least stopped to pick it up? My mom said when it came to Santa and the Easter Bunny there was a cut-off age after I became quite upset one Easter when the Bunny failed to bring me a basket. It wasn’t the basket I was really interested in, but the belief in the fantastical.
The thing is, when you get to be a certain age and you still believe in Santa, people are thinking you’re either being “silly” or “stupid” or that you’re “just joking.” But I’m dead-serious. There is one out there, and faith is believing without seeing, right?
Years ago one of my nieces told me there was no Santa. I argued with her that there was and took the time to explain how he was able to get from one place continent to another so quickly: Time zones! Not just that but if you discount the naughty kids and the kids who don’t believe, it leaves extra time to gift the good children who really do believe in him. That may have been because she had older brothers telling her those awful things about Santa. When it comes to my nieces and nephews, there’s what I refer to as the “New Batch” who are much younger. A few years back one of them went home and told her parents that there was no Santa and for a moment they thought she’d gotten that nonsense from me. Then my brother remembered my unmovable stance on how there IS a Santa and said he knew she didn’t hear it from my mouth. The older kids have grown out of Santa and I still bicker with them about it, but a few days ago, the little one told me that her friend said that he wasn’t real. I explained that her friend was mistaken, and she told me that her friend didn’t celebrate holidays, so I can understand how that might sway her little friend’s opinion. I also explained how religion can sometimes play a part in someone thinking that Santa is not real and hoped she would keep that child-like faith. “Santa’s not bringing her nuuuuuh-thing for Christmas,” said the little one with wide eyes and a hint of Schadenfreude in her voice. I was glad that she wasn’t moved by what someone else had told her, especially because at her age, this should be a magical time in her life.
Now, I’m always seeking out Santa sighting stories. When I was a kid, someone around my own age told me that he’d seen something in the sky and it had a red light like Rudolph’s nose. Now, okay, I’m not sure how I feel about Rudolph since he was created by Montgomery Ward as a marketing ploy if my memory serves correctly. So I don’t know if I can say that Rudolph is real with that same conviction I have in Santa and the Easter Bunny. I mean, a reindeer with a blinking nose? I don’t knooo-oooooow…But if Santa is real, who am I to say Rudolph isn’t? It’s possible.
And then I got another story from an adult a couple years ago. This one revived my hope. It was about something he had seen as a child. And I had to wonder, was it a wild imagining of a kid? Or was it true? I firmly want to believe the latter.
So, say what you will about me and the others who should have outgrown the belief by now but haven’t. I think a lot of us have a desire to believe. My brother said he believes in Santa, but as the spirit of Christmas. That makes no sense to me because Santa is not the spirit of anything! He’s a right jolly red elf who lives at the North Pole and delivers presents! (Sidenote: My brother also told me when I was around fifteen and had written that letter that Santa comes in and claims the older kids as a wife because Mrs. Claus is mortal and he has to seek new ones out sometimes. Then he turns them old and gives them white hair and even though I knew better, that just scared me to death! Me baking cookies with white hair? I didn’t know if I wanted Santa to come that year until I realised that my brother was just plain stupid and trying to scare me…as is typical of an older brother.) My mom also says Santa is the spirit of Christmas, but it seems she believes in an actual Santa because you can’t talk bad about him. If someone says he’s not real, she gets pretty upset. Or if they poke fun at his weight, or say something negative about him, she gets downright angry. Ever since I was a kid, and even now, when we see a department store Santa or one in a commercial that appears to be quite convinving she whispers with a child-like sense of fascination, “I think he’s the real one!”
So…If anyone cares to answer, where do you stand on Santa? Have you ever experienced a sighting, or come into contact with what you believe to be the real one?
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So Happy Holidays to all, and whether you believe in Santa or not, I hope he is good to you this year.