Do you believe Santa Claus exists? Do you remember believing whole-heartedly that he would arrive? The excitement of knowing when you woke up in the morning that there would be presents under the tree from him? If you close your eyes right now can you transport yourself back to the wonder and magic of it all?
I can, because I still believe. Oh, there was a time when I doubted that the jolly old elf existed but my parents never wavered. Even when I snooped and found bags of presents hidden in a closet—the same presents that would show up under the tree from Santa—my parents didn’t falter. “Of course, there is a Santa Claus”, they would say with a big smile and knowing winks to each other.
For a time, it frustrated me, in the way that only parents can drive teenage children mad. “Stop treating me like a child” I would insist with an eye roll, and they would only smile and maintain Santa Claus did indeed exist. Frustration finally gave way to exasperation. Obviously, they weren’t going to admit it. Fine. I’d just have to play along and hope that one day they would finally come clean.
I checked in several times through my twenties. “Come on Dad”, I’d say laughing, “I think you can tell me the truth now.” And my Dad would laugh and say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I still believe in Santa Claus.” Every year, a present from Santa would be under the tree waiting for me.
And then it happened. I had children of my own and the wonder of Santa Claus was introduced to them. For years, they never questioned his existence, but last year, it finally happened for my daughters. After a few years of tip-toeing around it—just in case presents would be jeopardized—they finally came out and said it. “Admit it, Mom, you’re Santa”. But I’m not I told them, and I meant it.
Santa Claus is bigger than one person. Santa was around long before my great-great grandparents time, and he will live long after my great-great grandchildren sit on his knee. He is the warmth of the season we feel even when the thermometer dips below zero. He is the hugs and kisses we give a little more generously to let people know how much we truly love them. He is the comfort of the season, like the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies and crisp fresh pine from a tree decorated with love. Those familiar and comforting scents have the power to transport each of us back to childhood, when our hearts were full of the wonder and magic of the season. Santa is the pretty packages and ribbons placed under the tree with care. He is the giving that happens when we help others with Christmas hampers and change in a kettle. He is bigger than one person, because he represents the very best of the season.
I can’t help but giggle a little knowing what I’m in for through the teen years. I am ready for the eye-rolls and fingers swirling at their temples as they look at me. It’s okay though, because one day they will believe again and they’ll never stop.