Lately I’ve been thinking back to my childhood and trying to remember the exact moment when I accepted certain doubts about Santa Claus.
I have a photographic memory for names and faces and details of nostalgic events, but this Santa thing has me shaking my head.
Many of a certain age can still recall the claim of an older sibling or friend that “your parents are Santa Claus.” And though many children over the years have been saddened to hear those words, come Christmas morning, rushing to the tree in anticipation, who cares who delivered all those the gifts?
There are times when kids question their parents after seeing Santa in more than one place, maybe at the mall, then in a parking lot, then in a parade and on TV.
One thing our mother never did was leave the space beneath our small tree bare. Gifts began appearing at least a week before Christmas, and I believe that was my personal clue to Santa’s identity.
I know for sure, as parents, that our son was convinced of Santa Claus’ reality. One Christmas Eve, as my toddler and I sat in the rocking chair with a bedtime story, we both heard a noise on the roof.
He listened with wide-eyed wonderment as I explained, “Santa is on the roof with his sleigh! You better get to bed!” (Of course, it might also have been snow shifting up there).
Other times, we would look out at the moon hoping to see a sleigh with jolly old St. Nick, Rudolph and the others streaking across the night sky.
The song ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ contains the lines:
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe
On hearing it, my mother would say with righteous indignation, “There is nothing funny about that song!”
Which, of course, made us laugh and laugh.
On one Christmas Eve, in the wee hours of the morning, I made my way to the table and helped myself to the milk and cookies left out there for Santa.
My doing so prevented an awkward explanation the next morning that, “Santa probably ate and drank too much at the other houses.”
When, as adults, we have long left our childhood behind, we can still believe in Santa in different ways, for he lives in the hearts of those who strive for peace, love and goodwill, and seeing the magic of Christmas through the eyes of children.
Nadine Wark is a retired office administrator and freelance writer who lives in Sarnia