First of all, I should probably put a disclaimer or warning here. If you have young, impressionable readers, you may want to read through this little piece before you put it into their hands. I don't want to be responsible for putting anyone into a situation wherein they might risk bursting some major bubbles.
A couple of days ago, a subject of discussion reared its head here at the newspaper office. That is, the subject of Santa Claus. Now for me, there isn't, nor has there ever been, any major question about the jolly guy dressed in red. But it seems, among some of my fellow workers here, that there is some room for disagreement. I have one particular co-worker who admits that he was so devastated when his parents told him Santa wasn't real that he vowed he would never subject his children to such a "lie." Now, I am not about to tell anyone what they should or should not believe; much less what they should or should not teach their children. Not my circus, not my monkeys. But, speaking for myself, I have a much different view.
I once dated a girl who was never allowed to "believe" in Santa. She insisted she didn't feel her childhood had been diminished by that and I always took her at her word. But, I couldn't help but think she missed out on some fun along the way. Once, not long after we had started dating, we were walking through the mall at Christmas time. We saw Santa, and of course, I waved and said "hello." She asked if I knew him and of course, my immediate response was, "Sure, that's Santa. He and I go way back." She just rolled her eyes as if she realized she should have known better.
When I was much younger and at the age when one begins to question such things, I asked my mom if Santa was real. Her response to me was pure genius, I thought. She told me, "Rickey, Santa is part of the Christmas spirit. As long as you believe in him, then he will always be real. But if you ever stop believing in him, he won't be real anymore." I think I should add here that those who don't believe get socks and underwear for Christmas; I'm just sayin'.
Personally, I think it's okay to allow children to believe in something magical. In fact, I would even encourage it. If we allow children to believe in big things, wouldn't that pave the way for them to believe in big things for themselves? I think a youngster who believes a man in a red suit can go all around the world delivering presents to children will be likely to believe they, themselves, can do great things. Just a little morsel of food for thought.
So, I still take the wise words my mother gave me to heart. Do I still believe? I most certainly do.