The Truth About Santa

The truth about Santa

I believe in magic. I see it around me, I talk about it all the time, and we are a family that is comfortable discussing our latest encounter with fairies.

Christmas, I think, is one of the most magical times of the year, because even for the ones who don’t necessarily believe in magic, there is something, not quite ordinary, that happens around.

Many years ago, I was a globe-trotting spring chicken, and magic was quite possibly the last thing I was noticing around me.
Christmas was yet again an opportunity to shop for things I didn’t need and spend more money I didn’t have. I was buying the foods I used to have as a child on our very special Christmas dinner hoping to reenact some of that spirit.

But one cold December day, just before Christmas, I was in my favorite city in the entire world, New York. Bit of backstory: for someone who matured into womanhood watching Sex and the City, Friends, Will and Grace and Seinfeld, being in New York, for the first time, is like stepping into that special place in your head, realizing for the first time that a real version of that exists.

And so here I was, strolling the streets and avenues, soaking in the energy of the vibrant city. I walked in front of NY Public Library and touched the columns, strolled past the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, then continued up 5th Ave, stopping in front of Tiffanys to admire the window display. Then I entered Central Park, sat down on a frozen, personalized bench, and the notion of time was suspended. I looked up, and for the first time in many years, I felt the magic all around me. It was as if the entire Universe conspired for that fantastic atmosphere, the fluffy snow, the horse and carriage, the contour of the beautiful NY buildings, seeing, *really seeing*, for the first time in the longest time, the world around me.
I stayed on that bench for a long time, and the woman who came out from Central Park was a different woman than the one who went in.
On the corner, a Santa was ringing his bell, with a cauldron labeled Salvation Army, a prominent ho-ho-ho to make up for the honking cabs and energetic buzz. I looked around at the people walking and what I could read on their faces was HOPE.

And right there, in front of that Santa, I finally got the magic of Christmas: It is a large-scale reminder of hope.

It is the hope of togetherness, joy, and acceptance. It is the permission to dream about what we really want and the exhilarating anticipation that it might come true. Christmas is about sharing an elaborate meal, telling stories and receiving reinforcement that somebody thought of us and what we might like.

It is a reminder that we are loved.

And that’s the adult version.

For children, what brings magic, is the story. Making the tree together, listening to the carols, talking about this amazing person with a massive scale business located at the North Pole, who knows EXACTLY what each child wants and doesn’t forget anyone.

For the rational mind, we might define the story of Santa as a big lie. That’s probably because as children when we finally learned “the truth” from those well-meaning third-grade classmates, our little hearts were shattered by disappointment.

But if you get back to that time when magic was still infusing every cell of your being, the story of Santa is a story of hope and joy.

What’s behind the story is what unites people – we belong to each other.

For our family, the spirit of Santa is real. And while we will be waiting for our tree to go up, our potatoes to roast and our wishes to come true, here is what we will be doing to help Santa:
We will bake healthy cookies for our teachers in school.
We will go through our toys, clothes, and belongings and collect what we no longer use, so we can send it to other people who need to use them.
We will make baskets of food and give them to the people in our lives who don’t have as much as us.
We will do Secret Santa for a friend.
We will make calendars or photo albums to send to the grandparents who can’t see their grandchildren every day.

We will gather together and say out loud that we are grateful. Not for something that we got, or for something that somebody else did for us. But just because by complete, absolute magic lottery, we got to be each other’s family.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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