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Santa Claus is coming back to town

December 1st, 2011 · No Comments · Blog

Santa ClausI don’t recall the exact moment I stopped believing in Santa Claus. By third grade I was well enough convinced to join several others in mocking a classmate who claimed to have seen Santa’s sleigh passing through the winter sky. He’d have had an easier time selling a UFO sighting. Kids are a particularly unforgiving lot once they develop the critical-thinking skills to debunk fairy tales.

I won’t accuse my older sisters (two and three years ahead of me) of breaking the spell, because I honestly don’t remember when or how I caught on to the Santa ruse. It seems logical they might have tipped me off that my parents were the ones who left the gifts under the Christmas tree, but they might have played along until someone else spoiled it.

Once you wise up, there’s no going back to those innocent days of flying reindeer and a toy sack that can fit enough goodies for every boy and girl on the planet. The mythology of early childhood—the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and St. Nicholas himself—all fade overnight, cast aside in our haste to grow up.

Turns out we get a second chance to embrace them.

My son turned two last month. He hasn’t yet inherited my zest for tearing into a gift, or my ability to shred the paper in one and three-quarters seconds or less. But he certainly likes the toys that are eventually revealed when the wrapping’s been peeled away. He knows somehow that Santa will bring him more presents soon, even if he hasn’t yet mastered the concept of a calendar by which to count down.

He’s already visited with Santa Claus once, the week before Thanksgiving, when the Jolly Old Elf handed him a small, white rubber ducky at a local mall. That duck has become one of his most prized possessions. “Santa Ducky,” he calls him. It’s rekindled his interest in his two other rubber ducks, which have escaped the bath tub and now accompany him all over the house.

Grant is eager to see Santa again, though he doesn’t yet have any specific toy requests for the big guy. When we ask him what Santa will bring, he says “presents,” “balloons,” or “cake.” I love the thought of Santa bringing him a cake. I expect he’ll find one when he wakes up Christmas morning, even if it means my wife or I will be up late Christmas Eve baking it.

If that’s what it takes to keep Santa Claus real for him, I’m all in. I figure we’ve got about five years, maybe six,until some smug little brat at his school ruins it all. Once he realizes his old man is Father Christmas, the holidays will lose some of their magic. For us as much as him.

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