Sunday, December 22, 2013

Do You Believe in Santa?

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
I’m forty-five years old, and I still believe in Santa Claus.

When I was a little girl, I stayed up listening for him on the roof. I marveled the next morning at the empty milk glass and the last remaining cookie with a bite out of it. I squealed with happiness each year at the one perfect gift waiting for me under the tree.

I never forced my parents to have “the talk” as I got older. My brother is eight years younger than I am, so eventually I was enlisted in covert Santa operations, hiding gifts in my own closet on Santa’s behalf. I didn’t mind helping him.

It never occurred to me to stop believing in Santa. Of course he was real. But parents often stopped believing, so they did Santa’s job for him. Considering how many children there are in the world, I figured he was probably grateful for the assist.

I still believed Santa could give non-material gifts. He was listening, right? As my teen years approached, my faith in him never wavered, and I’d write him a letter with whatever teen-angsty thing I wanted the most, then burned the letter in the fireplace. Santa would get it that way. He would know. Did he deliver on my request? I honestly couldn’t say. If he didn’t, I obviously wasn’t devastated, since I don’t remember.

I grew up and had kids of my own, which meant I had to decide whether to let Santa do his job, or help him out. I opted to help, of course. Santa had done a lot for me over the years. It was the least I could do. And my kids, when the time came, never cornered me for “the talk.” Possibly because they knew I would never, ever say that Santa wasn’t real. Or maybe because they didn’t want to upset me, since I was obviously unbalanced.

I could spout a bunch of feel-good business here about how Santa lives within each of us, in the spirit of Christmas and the brotherhood of man. But really, I simply want to believe in something magical and beautiful that we, as a species, have created together through the stories we’ve told each other over time, repeating those stories and adding to them. Santa’s reality grows stronger with each stocking stuffed, every bike put together at 2 A.M. on Christmas Eve, and all the white beards and red velvet suits worn by mall Santas around the world.

Santa is real. Maybe he doesn’t live at the North Pole and spend the rest of the year with elves and making toys. Maybe he doesn’t have flying reindeer, and maybe his belly doesn’t shake when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly.

But maybe, just maybe, he is real.

My kids are grown, but Santa is still visiting them this year, though he had to send a box to Florida to get everything to my youngest.

I’m sure Santa appreciates my help. I don’t mind. He’s done a lot for me over the years. It’s the least I can do.

I hope your holidays are filled with magic, love, and laughter. And trust me—if there’s something special you really want, maybe all you need is to believe.

Rachel's head is packed with an outrageous amount of useless Disney trivia. She is terrified of thunder, but not of lightning, and sometimes recites the Disneyland dedication speech during storms to keep herself calm. She finds it appalling that nobody from Disney has called yet with her castle move-in date.

Originally from Northern California, she has a tendency to move every few years, resulting in a total of seven different states and a six-year stint in England. Currently, she's planning her next grand adventure. Rachel has one heroic husband, two genius kids, a crazy-catlady starter kit, and an imaginary dog named Waffles.

She doesn't have time for a real dog.

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