Finding out Santa is so much more than a jolly old man bearing gifts

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 11, 2017

‘Tis the season when Jolly Ol’ St. Nick comes into our lives for a brief, albeit magical month.

I can still remember the day I discovered Santa’s true identity. I wasn’t traumatized. I didn’t run off crying my eyes out in my pillow. I had already slowly started to note that some of the stories related to Santa didn’t quite make sense. I was getting older and smarter and becoming more aware of the world.

I was disappointed for sure. Who isn’t when they find out who Santa is? We lose a bit – no, we lose a lot of our innocence and the ability to believe in magical things.

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And yet, when we become adults, we bring it all back with our children, knowing one day they too will feel the loss and sadness.

I suppose we do it because before we “found out,” we spent several wonderful years believing in a magical man who could fly around the world in one night and managed to stop at each house, eat some cookies, drink some milk and leave behind a load of colorful presents that would be ripped open among squeals of delight in the early morning hours of Christmas morning. The disappointment, in the end, was worth it.

However, we do it for selfish reasons as well. At least I did.

Christmas, while always a wonderful time of year, losses a bit of its magic when there are no children around. We spend time with family and delight in giving our loved ones special gifts, but it’s never quite the same.

When my children were born, Christmas became fun and magical once again. I sat and watched all my favorite Christmas movies with them – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Year Without A Santa Clause,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and more. Together, we gained some new favorites, like “Home Alone” and “Christmas Vacation.”

We’d put out cookies and milk and each Christmas Eve, I’d read them, “The Night Before Christmas.” I delighted in seeing their faces Christmas morning when they first saw the bounty of toys before them.

Years went by quickly, as they do, and soon my children were teenagers and Christmas dulled down again – until a few years later when the first of my grandchildren were born. Once again, Christmas is great fun again and all those traditions are being passed on and new ones are being made.

So, yes, we lie to our children and we know they’ll forgive us as we forgave our parents and they’ll likely do the same once they become parents because when it’s all said and done, Santa is actually very real – he just might not look like what is portrayed in movies and on cartoons.

He looks like my mom and dad. He looks like me and my children. He looks like Christmas magic. He looks like love – and that is something that is very real.