The Real Santa Claus
By: Ashleigh V., SNN Senior Editor, Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler, MB
There are a few earthshattering moments in everyone’s lives that they will remember for as long as they live. Moments that they remember every detail about: where they were sitting, what they were doing, and so on. Some older people remember where they were when they heard JFK was assassinated; for me, it’s the day I learnt Santa Claus didn’t exist.
I was in grade 4 and my class was having a heated discussion over the existence of a certain fat guy in a red suit. It was the believers vs. the non-believers, and insults of “your lying” and “your parents don’t know anything” were flying across the room.
Then, one smart non-believer posed the question to the teacher. The teacher proceeded to do something that I think no one except your parents have the right to do: he told us that there was no Santa Claus. Now, to a 9 year old, there are few people smarter than your teacher, so I was pretty worried.
I ran home after school in a state of shock. They couldn’t be right. I wouldn’t believe it. Yet, I had already begun to have my doubts, and I was prompted to ask the question that most parents dread, “Mommy, is there a Santa Claus?”
My mom took one look at my pleading face and sat me on her lap. She showed me the entry on Saint Nicholas in the encyclopedia and read it aloud. Explaining to me that there was no Santa Claus today, but that there had once been a real Saint Nick a long time ago.
As the realization of what my mother was telling me dawned on me, I began to see that the elaborate deception, which had been with me my whole life, was over.
It stood to reason that, if there was no Santa, there could be no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy...all my childhood delusions hit the floor with one dull thud.
My mom then explained to me something that I will always hold with me. Something that I will one day tell my kids when they ask me the same question. She told me that, although there isn’t a real person named Santa Claus, there will always be a Santa. Santa isn’t about elves and toys and flying reindeer, he’s about giving and loving everyone. The spirit of Santa lives on through the imaginations of children and in the hearts of their parents.
Today, I have to admit that Christmas has lost some of its magic for me. I don’t get as excited on December 1st, counting down the “sleeps” for Santa to come. It’s not really until I see little kids at the mall sitting on Santa’s lap, their faces beaming with excitement, that I remember my time on that lap. And what it was like to have such a complete trust and belief in something so good. That’s when I realize what Christmas is all about. That’s when it feels like Christmas. The magic of childhood is a wonderful thing.