“Hey Mama, is Santa Claus real?”
“Oh yes, baby. Santa is full of the most real kind of magic there is!”
The first time that we were asked this question by one of our kids, my husband was thrown by my answer.
He was worried our children might even be bullied on the playground for believing in Santa.
I sat quietly for a moment, pondering his reaction.
Finally, I asked him: do you get excited around Christmas time? Even just a tiny bit? A little smile that tugs at the corners of your mouth that you just can’t help?
A giddy flutter when you see those first lights strung. The deep nostalgia that you feel, helping our boys scribble their detailed wish lists. Watching their eyes twinkle as they carefully arrange sweets on the mantle, excitedly envisioning the slumped stockings plumping up. Tiny alarm clocks pouncing too early with squeals of delight, cinnamon buns and hot coffee, all surrounded by the people you love the most.
Your worries swept aside, even if just for an hour or two. Deep sighs of contented gratitude, snuggling up on the couch to watch a cheesy Christmas movie after a boisterous day. Fuzzy slippers, a full belly and a deep exhaustion that only comes after a day caused by chaotic magic – because that’s what it is.
Sure, a rotund dude in crushed velvet and fur may not shimmy his way down our non-existent chimney. Giant pegasus deer can’t be seen flying over our heads, led by a mutant one with a light bulb nose. Of course, none of that is fact. But I really don’t know how you can say that it isn’t real.
There is nothing that quite compares to the unique allure of the holidays. It’s a palpable energy, born from powerful emotional energy being expressed all over the world, at the exact same time.
So when the day finally comes when our little ones ask why we never told them the truth, we can explain that we did. Santa is the extra mile that we go to turn these holidays into memories.
Santa is the wonder, the belief, the stories that we all pass down to each generation with our own unique traditions tagging along. It’s a way to connect our own childhoods to those of the ones that come after us. Santa is something that we pass along, a little secret that we entrust as each one of us grows into it.
We are Santa, for now. And one day, perpetuating and nurturing these traditions will be their job. I really can’t think of anything more real, or anything more magical than that.
Mommy’s Inside Voice is a bi-weekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three.