The Magic of Santa: “He’s real, right?”

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My Sister & me, getting ready to send our letters over 20 years ago.

The Magic of Santa

Christmas has been my favorite holiday for as long I can remember.  Every year, my Sister and I would write our letters to Santa and eagerly wait for his response.  We would also put on Christmas Eve shows for our parents during which, we would sing, dance and do magic tricks. We would have a “sleepover” and share a bed together so that when we woke up, we would exit the room to discover the cup of egg nog we had left out for Santa was now only half full, the cookies would be replaced by cookie crumbs and the carrots we left out for the reindeer would have huge bites taken out of them.  We would also find that more than gifts had been left for us.  Santa always left us a letter, telling us how proud he was of us with a summary of the highlights of the past year.  Needless to say, those letters were always special, we have kept them all and Santa is now getting ready to write one for Liam that will be kept safe for until he is older. Christmas has always offered me reasons to believe in Magic and now that I am a Mom, I can’t wait for my Son to experience the magic too.

All throughout school, I had kids telling me that Santa wasn’t real and no matter what they said, I never doubted what I knew to be true: that he was as real as my love for Christmas.  I will never forget the moment I found out the truth.  After years of standing my ground and telling the non-believers that they were wrong, I tearfully found out who the real Santas were, one night while watching television.  Yup, a car commercial made me ask my Mom the dreaded question that every parent expects to eventually be asked, but hopes it doesn’t come for many years, “Santa isn’t real, is he?”.

The car commercial showed the Easter Bunny physically fighting Santa Claus, while other childhood idols like the tooth fairy stood by and watched.  What was the point of the commercial?  Beats me.  All I knew was that it made no sense that these people would be beating each other up if they were real.  Lesson to those of you in advertising, perhaps keep in mind that kids may see your ads (it was on during an age appropriate show- it wasn’t because I was watching something I wasn’t supposed to unsupervised) and they MAY question things that end up affecting them more than you realize.  I cried as my Mom held me, and I now know that she was probably hurting as much as I was.  I want to thank not only my parents, but my older Sister as well, for keeping me “out of the loop”for as long as they did.

My Son is only two  months old but the way he sees the world now, is how I see the world during Christmas.  He is looking at his surroundings and taking them all in, trying to figure out how they work; everything is so mysterious and magical to him.  Not to sound depressing, or make the world sound awful, but I know that the world can’t always stay that way for him and eventually he will learn of the things that, at times, are heartbreaking if you think about them for too long.  The white, fluffy, clean looking snow falls and covers up the grey, dirty ground but it only lasts for so long.  As a parent, I will strive to make the magic last for as long as it can for him and when he is old enough, I hope he is one of the people who continue to spread the magic, rather than the alternative option.  No, I don’t want him to grow up being misguided or disillusioned, but I want him to believe in the spirit of Santa forever.  I know I will.

I came across an article, that discussed one Mother’s solution to being asked about whether or not Santa is real and I love her response so much, that I will be sure to keep it in mind for when it comes time for me to answer Liam’s questions.  Charity Hutchinson found this method of spilling the beans somewhere online (original source unknown):

“The writer suggests taking the child out for “coffee” to share the secret. Tell them something like, “You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [ Point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.

You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.  The idea is to let the child in on the secret of “being” Santa. You lead them to discuss the best parts of being Santa and then, help them become one themselves.

We then have the child choose someone they know–a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it–and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.  The author explains her oldest child’s first “target,” a grouchy neighbor woman he decided should have new slippers since he’d observed her getting the paper in her bare feet. He purchased and wrapped them, leaving the gift anonymously under her driveway gate. He delighted when he saw her a day later actually using them, but was swiftly reminded that his role as her “Santa” must remain a secret or he wouldn’t be a “good” Santa.

Over the years, the child and his younger brother chose new targets for their secret gift-giving and the author says they never felt lied to about Santa because they felt they’d simply grown into the role themselves. It wasn’t a big conspiracy; it was simply part of growing up.”- via ScaryMommy

What a wonderful idea!  It is true that part of what makes Santa so special is that he is so selfless.  He gives so much to every child and all he gets in return is seeing the joy on their faces.  To be happy with giving, rather than receiving is such an important thing to learn and it will stay with you for your entire life.  Overall, I hope my Son is happy when the time comes for him to be Santa, because like they said, it is simply part of growing up… but I can wait a few years for that to happen and I am thrilled that it is now my turn to be Santa.  What an honor that is.

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Liam’s First Christmas & Meeting Santa for the First Time

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays everyone!  Stay safe and have an amazing time spent with family.

 

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