The mom stares straight ahead, clenching the steering wheel and holding her breath. In the backseat her carpool is engaged in an intense debate. “I know for sure Santa is real,” her son’s best friend says authoritatively, “because my mom said so . . . and my mom would never lie.”
You want the truth about Santa? I think you can handle it.
The holiday season brings many beloved customs to the home front . . . as well as some unwelcome ones. Among these less desirable traditions is the annual Santa debate. When that fateful question is first asked, parents are forced to recognize that regardless of how much they may want to freeze time, children do grow up. Innocence is always, ultimately, lost.
Or is it? Let’s settle this thing right now:
Yes, my son, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as your basketball shoes, which were nowhere to be found when you were tearing around the house frantically getting dressed but miraculously reappeared just in time for your game. And do you remember how you searched for the lemonade in the refrigerator and could not find it – and then I opened the door and it was right there in the front on the middle shelf like I told you? How is it possible that it wasn’t there and then it was? The only explanation is that there is magic in this world, don’t you think?
How boring life would be if we only believed in what we could see right in front of our faces; how dull and how uninspired.
And not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe that your dog is an enchanted beast that understands what you say to her and has a special ESP for when you have had a bad day and loves you with a dog-heart that is a million times stronger than our human hearts. You know this, and that is why she is truly your best friend – but that’s not something she can just confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt to skeptics. Not everyone understands her like you do.
Some of the most real things in the world are those that neither children nor moms nor dads see. Think about this: Of all the moms and dads and kids in the whole world, we ended up together. Did you ever actually see God make out the family list that put you with me and your brother and your dad? Well, me neither, but I can promise you that the first time I saw you I knew with 100% certainty that you were mine, and I was yours, and we were ours. We don’t really know exactly how that happened but we do know that it is a happy miracle every single time a family is made.
Remember when you were very small and you tore apart my special musical ballerina jewelry box because you wanted to see how it worked, but once you could see the pins on the cylinder that plucked the teeth of the steel comb you cried – because even seeing the parts still didn’t explain the music? We can break things down to their bare bones, but many of the things we know in our hearts to be true often cannot be measured or explained.
There was once a time many years ago when I doubted just like you, just as I once did not know that the kind of love that I feel for you was even possible. But now I know better. And so the truth is, as long as parents and children embrace the magical journey of childhood together, Santa will always be real.
Want to get a better handle on Santa? Read the iconic letter to Virginia from the editors of The Sun that inspired this post, hear messages from Santa with this advent calendar from santaisreal.com, and rock on with The Boss when he assures us that Santa Claus is coming to town.