*I can’t remember the exact words I used to break my daughter’s heart and tell her the truth about Santa Claus. All I do recall, is that my heart needed some mending too.
I never mentioned to her how I found out. At least not at that time. But it was messy. I realized who “Santa” was one night in Virginia. I was probably about seven or eight. I was upstairs on Christmas Eve. It was late…around two in the morning. That’s when the steps would creak as my parents went up and down – carrying the boxes with all the toys they’d gone into debt buying for us. I sneaked a peek through the ventilator on the floor. It allowed me to see just enough of the room below.
And that is where I witnessed my mom and dad, in front of our fabulous 6-foot-tall Christmas tree, putting together an old, “new” bike that I had somehow asked “Santa” for.
The next morning after the revelation was like every other morning years before. Mom and dad would be still asleep while us kids nearly broke our necks running downstairs (around 5 a.m.) to see our toys. Opening them with sheer joy and marveling at what we had gotten. Our parents would eventually come in and revel in our joy at “what Santa brought us.”
They never let on, bless their hearts.
That was how I found out. There was no letter. No “sit down honey, Mommy has something to tell you.
Obviously, her mother had some explaining to do, and so she ‘channeled’ this letter. Not bad. You might want to take note when you decide on how to tell your kids about the myth.
Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the Christmas magic stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents, and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no, I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.
I allowed my child to believe in Santa for much longer than I did. I personally feel that with so much being taken away from the rights of a child to have a childhood today, we should think long and hard about how and when to do this. In this cold, hard world, the little ones have so little in the way of fairy tales to hold on to.
So if this is the year you decide to break the news to your child about “Santa” – I would LOVE to know how it turns out. What was your child’s response? How did you set the mood? If we get enough responses, we will publish them after Christmas.