When JT was 6 years old, the year that I was first a single mama, he announced that Santa “knows my brain better than I do.” The moment was a much-needed dose of the magical for me. It confirmed that I was making it as a mama on my own. It reminded me to get out of my head and to establish my own new normal. Though I was braced for the holiday to be another new, unhappy tradition, that Christmas was an epiphany for me. There was joy to be found and I welcomed it.
JT believed in Santa Claus a little longer than most children because I maintained the illusion. Though he expressed doubts as a fifth grader, as late as the sixth grade he was still willing to believe. I encouraged this because childhood doesn’t last long enough. And, let’s face it: I loved playing Santa. In a way, playing Santa had helped save me and I wanted to hold on to that blessing.
A few days ago, we were talking about Santa and I announced that I would be pulling up the Norad Santa tracker on Christmas Eve. JT revealed that when he doubted Santa’s existence, the Norad updates always provided the solid proof he needed. I hadn’t known this and was charmed to learn it.
I know that Christmas has become a commercialized juggernaut and that for some of us, the holidays are less a pleasure than a pain. But I love the simple traditions of the December holidays —— the lights, the cards, the wrapping paper, the tags and ribbons, the homemade treats, and choosing a special gift for someone I love. I remember that in 2006, at a time in my life when I was struggling mightily to find some happiness, Santa and my Christmas traditions, two things that I feared would magnify my sadness, instead eased it.
So that is the Santa I believe in —— the excitement and magic of a child on Christmas Eve, the belief in something good and pure, the happiness of a surprise, the smell of evergreen and glimmer of lights, the pleasant remembrance of a kindness received, and the blessing of giving to others.
Thank you, Santa. Merry Christmas!