I don’t know how the tradition of Santa Claus fits into your particular life, whether you ever believed in him or didn’t, whether you decided to let your children believe in him or chose not to do so, but for me, Santa Claus has been as real for me as anything make believe can ever be for the better part of my life.
I was around eleven or so when I finally realized that a fat man in a red suit traveling around the world on sleigh the size of a pickup truck pulled by a team of animals delivering toys to every kid in the world in one night made no more sense than that same fat man being able to shimmy down a skinny chimney carrying a bag of toys while a fire burned underneath him. Or how he managed to get into locked houses that had no chimneys without waking up the whole house. At some point it no longer made any sense at all. I could no longer reconcile what I was being told by my parents with the science and logic that was right there in front of my eyes.
So, when I was eleven, Santa died the first time for me. It was a sad death, triggering the beginning of a higher understanding of life for me. It was the beginning of the next phase of my life where I would no longer view gifts as magical things that were just given without cost and begin to understand that all the world’s problems would never be solved on a single night in December by a fat man in a red suit in a sleigh the size of a pickup truck pulled by a team of reindeer. The problems of the real world are much harder than that.
In short when Santa Claus died, so did innocence.
On October 3rd, 1985, Santa Claus was reborn for me in the birth of my son. If you are parents and believe in passing along Santa Claus to your kids then you know the joy I experienced in putting the milk and cookies on the counter or the coffee table the night before. You know the joy of seeing your kids eyes light up in wonder as a tree that was devoid of gifts the night before suddenly was packed with their every wish come true. It is the greatest feeling I have ever known, the most joy I have ever felt as a parent. For twenty-six magnificent Christmas mornings, I was Santa Claus.
On the night of this Christmas Day, 2011, my daughter stood in our kitchen and proclaimed to us that she believed that her mother and I were Santa Claus. She thought we put out the cookies and milk and then ate them when she went to bed.
I told my eleven year old daughter the truth. Her mother and I were indeed Santa Claus.
Upon hearing the news my tender-hearted daughter cried. I held her and part of me ached right along with her, but another part of me ached for me. My daughter has lost Santa Claus for a little while, as long as it takes for her to mature, get married, and have kids. In her kids, Santa will be reborn.
My daughter is the youngest and the last I will ever have. For me, Santa Claus is gone forever.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.