I will never forget the day that I learned the truth about Santa.
Being the oldest in my family, and a kid people would categorize as a believer anyway, I believed in Santa Claus far longer than most of my friends. In fact, it was deep in the summer of 1982, when I was between the 5th and 6th grades, when I finally learned the truth.
I was down the street at the Petersen’s playing. I remember it being a normal summer day. We had our bikes flipped over in order to work on and repair them (which usually just meant pushing the pedals as hard as we could to see how fast we could get the wheel to go, a good cleaning, and a little oil on the chain if we were lucky). But, there we were, in front of the Petersen’s working on our bikes, considering selling the lemonade, and just shooting the breeze when one of my friends said, “Can you believe we believed Santa was real for so long?’
I looked at him puzzled and said, “What do you mean. Santa is real.”
He laughed and replied, “No he’s not, and everyone knows it!”
I remember chuckling inside at his foolishness and in a tone that had a little “listen ding-dong” attached to it, responded with, “Well, if Santa’s not real, then who brings the presents?!”
Sure that this argument was irrefutable, I folded my arms and waited for what I was sure was going to be clumsy response. I had him, and I knew it.
Then, quick as a whip, he looked at me snickering and said, “Your parents bring ‘em. No Doi .” “No Doi“ was part of the vernacular of the day, which translated correctly means, “No Duh”
I was flabbergasted. “Could it be true?” I wondered. With a wedge of doubt driven right in the middle of my before solid belief, I flipped over my bike and rode home to get an answer.
I walked into the kitchen where my mom was cooking and belted out, “Mom, is Santa real?” Not expecting this question in the middle of July, and wondering when I was going to find out the truth on my own, replied, “Well, what do you think?”
Right then, I knew it! My friend was right—Santa wasn’t real. I went downstairs to lie on my bed. It felt like all of the magic had been sucked right out of Christmas. The whole thing was all made up. I postulated that if Santa wasn’t real the chances for Rudolph and elves were slim to none—and forget about the Easter Bunny.
Somehow, I made it through and that Christmas was as wonderful as all the ones before.
Now, this year with our little Coleman around I am excited for the believing in Santa to begin again. Even though he doesn’t understand, I’ve told him all about The North Pole, Santa and the Mrs., Rudolph and the rest. I’ve sung him the songs, and even though he’ll be more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper can’t wait for him to open his presents.
I’ve also been reminded this year—more than any year in a long time—that there is magic in Christmas. It’s all around.
It’s in the face of my little boy, in the feeling of giving, in the excitement of finding the right gift for Kolette and in the gratitude I feel for her knowing she spends hours and hours to give me something special.
It’s in the way people’s hearts change for these few weeks every year. Regardless of religion or belief, there’s just more kindness, more love. People find compassion they’d maybe lost before. Smiles fill peoples faces because of the accompanied increase in joy. People remember what they have and gratitude seems abundant.
But, more than anything, the magic comes in hope. Whether it’s hoping for Santa or hoping for peace, hope is everywhere. It fills the hearts of the young and old, and brings with it an optimism that somehow makes everything OK. We hope for things to improve in the New Year. We hope that things will be better for our own, and we hope that things will be better for those around us.
All we have to do is open our souls and let the season fill our hearts with hope—then allow it to be accompanied by love, joy, cheer, gratitude, peace and gladness. When we do, will all rejoice in the Magic of Christmas.
Wishing you a Very Merry,