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Santa Claus

December 23, 2009
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I’m going to tell you something that I don’t tell many people.

I believed in Santa Claus until I was 14 years old.

Yes. It is true. For the most part.

In truth, I had figured it out years before (really). But I really, really wanted to believe in Santa Claus. As I referenced in my previous blog entry, one of my favorite things about Christmas as a kid was the anticipation. I didn’t sleep at all the night before Christmas. There were simply too many possibilities of what the day would bring.

And it all hinged on Santa. Without Santa, what’s the point in all the hype and anticipation? A part of me knew what was going on–I knew we went to bed early so my parents could go downstairs, I knew the presents were hidden somewhere in the house. I mean, anyone knows that the logistics of Santa simply don’t work.

But I wanted so badly for there to be something in this logical world of ours that didn’t make sense, that couldn’t be explained, that added magic and mystery and anticipation to our lives one day out of the year, that I simply refused to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that Santa doesn’t exist.

One day I finally gave in. Christmas lost a lot of its luster that day, but that’s okay–anticipation and presents and clinging onto traditions have been replaced by togetherness and love.

There’s a part of me that will always swear that I hear sleigh bells on the rooftop on Christmas Eve. I hope that part never goes away.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Lorena permalink
    December 23, 2009 11:12 pm

    🙂

    You’re like the kid from the Polar Express!

  2. December 23, 2009 11:15 pm

    I’m that kid! But the book version, not the movie version.

    • Dionne permalink
      December 23, 2009 11:21 pm

      Awwww, pobrecito. My parents raised my brother and I to know that Santa, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, and other myths, were fake, but she always taught us to not ruin it for other people. I’m sorry that reality had to set in.

  3. December 23, 2009 11:24 pm

    Pobrecito indeed. I’ve thought about how I want to raise my kids in that way…I really don’t know. On one hand, I like the magic and mystery of Santa Claus. But I walked away from the whole experience with a healthy level of imagination and creativity…I’m sure my kids could have those traits without Santa or those other myths.

    What do you think? What do others think?

    • Lorena permalink
      December 24, 2009 10:31 am

      I think Santa Claus helps the adults continue to have some fun with imagination and myth, not just the kids. My friend’s kid was almost 3 last easter, and they had a lot of fun having her go outside to do an easter egg hunt, then arranging the living room to have presents from the easter bunny and explaining that they must have just missed the easter bunny. People always praise how imaginative children are and that adults should be more like that. Santa Claus is just another way of keeping your imagination in practice. Because really, all imagination is is just creation of something that’s not real.

      • December 24, 2009 2:52 pm

        That’s a good point–I hadn’t thought about the adult side of it. I think I could have fun doing that.

  4. Dionne permalink
    December 24, 2009 11:12 am

    My brother and I had a great deal of imagination (mostly because we grew poor) and had to get creative when it came to play time. I’ve thought about how I would raise my kids and I think that you can still have “magic” and imagination without full out telling them that Santa is real. I probably will go into the history of Santa and how he was real at one time and we celebrate his life by re-creating him every year and that the purpose he fulfilled in the past lives on through every one of us. I think you can merge the two. Now, as for the Easter bunny (Easter coming from the word Ishtar who was a fertility goddess – thus the rabbits and eggs)…I’ll have to think about that because THAT is not the purpose of Easter.

    If society can make myth and legend out of anything (i.e. bunny, reindeer, etc) then I can do the same thing with actual symbols that mean something (i.e symbols of faith and culture). Just because a society puts emphasis on a bunny doesn’t mean I have to perpetuate that. Anyway, I don’t know how I’ll approach that topic, but luckily I have plenty of time to think about it.

    • December 24, 2009 2:55 pm

      I like the idea of merging the myth and truths behind Santa Claus. As you say, though, the Easter bunny is more difficult. I don’t think I want Ishtar visiting my kids with her eggs.

  5. December 24, 2009 1:01 pm

    It’s probably harder to cling to the Santa myth with older brothers and sisters, especially an older brother. I think it was over for me by third grade, certainly after my fourth grade Christmas since in Fifth grade we four kids decided to “pool” our “gift equity” that year for a billiards table. I will say that was the worst Christmas ever. I mean, I love to play pool, but not having anything under the tree, well…and even though I’m a pretty straight up parent with my two daughters regarding reality vs the illusions we use as crutches in this life, I found it difficult to let go of the Santa tradition and therefore perpetuated it one more generation.

    • December 24, 2009 2:57 pm

      There certainly is something special about a tree filled with presents. Maybe my tradition with my kids will be that there will be a ton of empty boxes under the tree that they’ll have to unwrap before they find the real present. The first kid to find the real present wins a prize. I think that’s what Jesus would have wanted.

      • Dionne permalink
        December 24, 2009 3:04 pm

        You reminded me of something that you talked about in a previous blog. You had mentioned, as did some of your readers, that they give gifts of charity to various organizations on behalf of loved ones. I think that I will make that a family tradition. For every present my children receive they also give to someone or a group of someones who are in need. The point of Christmas is to celebrate his birth, life, and death and all that he did for us so it would only be fitting to emulate Christ on his birthday by taking care of “needs”.

        • December 24, 2009 3:07 pm

          I like that a lot. I think the key for me will be to make giving to charity feel like fun instead of an obligation, just so it has a lasting effect. I’m hoping my Kiva gifts this year will be somewhat “fun,” but there are other ways to have fun with it as well. For example (although this wouldn’t work for kids), although giving blood isn’t “fun,” it is fun to have a soda and snacks, which you get when you give blood.

          • Dionne permalink
            December 24, 2009 3:15 pm

            Very true. Hmmm…making charitable gifts fun. I suppose if you are able to personalize the story behind the giving then it might make more sense for the kids. When the kids are small you can give to an animal charity and take the children to see the animals at the local animal refuge/rescue center.

  6. Dionne permalink
    December 24, 2009 4:18 pm

    Your muse strikes again:)

  7. Tolles permalink
    December 27, 2009 4:31 pm

    I too believed in Santa Claus until I was 14. But in my house, Santa Claus was a guy who broke into our house every year on Christmas to steal some of our shit. I was told to hide under the covers and never, never seem like I was awake or else I would be kidnapped and taken to the North Pole to work as a slave in one of Santa’s concentration camps. I believed in him because I’d see the evidence of Santa’s rampage the night before. Nothing like waking up Christmas morning to find your sink ripped from the wall all the copper wire in the house missing.

    Maybe that’s why I hate christmas.

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