Believing In The Magic Of Santa

Katie Young
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Wednesday - December 24, 2008

What is there about the holiday season that drives parents to do crazy, wonderful things - just to see the look on their child’s face? Here are a few recollections on the lengths parents go to keep the magic alive:

From one reader: “On the subject of Santa Claus ... OK, I admit it. I believed in St. Nick for more years than I care to admit. But that was, at least partly, because I remember seeing Santa standing in our living room in Detroit. You see, my dad, a quiet Japanese man of few words, decided he would dress up in a Santa suit when I was 3 years old and made his appearance every Christmas morning for a few more times after that.

“My recollection is he would magically appear, jingling his bells, while I peered around the corner to catch a glimpse. Then, just as quickly, Santa would disappear, only to return in his familiar dad form, but by then I was too distracted by the presents Santa had left under the tree.

“Years later, I also found out my mom had spent countless hours sewing intricate doll clothes late into the night, all the while telling me they had been created by Santa’s elves.”

This reader, like many children, would leave cookies and milk for Santa Claus, but because she grew up in a cold climate, would beg her mother to make sure the milk was warm for Santa. She even made her parents move the fake wood out of their fake fireplace so Santa would-n’t hurt himself coming down the “chimney.”

Of course her parents obliged because it kept their little girl believing for as long as she did.

That’s the joy of being a child - and the secret wish of grownups who want to relive the innocence of just believing. It’s helping children take a leap of faith that doesn’t need analysis or practical explanations.

There’s the mother in Hawaii who sets up a fake cardboard chimney and leaves footprints made with flour to simulate snow so her kids know Santa really does come from the North Pole’s chilly climate to slide down the chimney to deliver presents.

And the mother who buys separate wrapping paper for all her gifts “from Santa” and gets an uncle or a friend to write the names on the gift tags.

There are the parents who have their children write letters to Santa Claus every year and let their children walk out to the mailbox, stick the letter in and put the flag up so they know their wishes are on the way to the North Pole.

There are also the parents who field all the questions about how Santa can be at every mall taking pictures with all the kids when he has all those toys to make, or how he can fly to every house in the world in just one night.

In fact, Alan Snow has written a book titled How Santa Really Works to help explain some of those curious questions about Saint Nick to little ones. The book talks about Santa’s house, the extensive training the elves go through to learn about Christmas and how Santa knows what each child across the world wants, thanks to his computer database.

The book also talks about the CIA (Christmas Intelligence Agency) and the many workers who help Santa to know if children have been good or bad. There are many, many helpers who get Santa Claus ready for the big night. Snow even details how Santa manages to shimmy down the chimney, climb through a window or open a door without being detected. Santa is very fast and can get in and out of each house quickly!

For generations, parents have been finding their own ways of explaining the unexplainable. Usually children will accept the answers because believing in Santa Claus is fun. There’s nothing else like it and once you stop believing, you’ll probably never have that same mysterious excitement again.

Santa Claus is an important part of childhood for many of us. We teach our children that Santa, like some higher power, is all-good, all-just and is virtually omnipresent. I hope his legend will always be there, continuing to evolve through generations of new traditions in different cultures throughout the world.

There are some things in life that you just have to take on faith.

There’s magic in just believing in something, even if it defies logic and the laws of physics. Because beyond the advertising hype, the expensive toys and latest gadgets is something much more important: it’s the sprit of Christmas that we hope to pass on to our children. It’s a spirit of giving, of family togetherness and wishes for a world that hopes to live in peace.

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