Breed ‘Em and Weep wrote about the whole Santa-thing on her blog today. “And in August, Santa Claus disintegrates into a pile of ashes and everyone’s heart hurts.”
It was That Question. The ‘is this guy real, or have you been LYING TO ME all this time?!’
Ouch, ouch, OUCH.
I am such a terrible, terrible coward that I have headed this particular question off at the pass. I dreaded it horribly since before Eldest was even a twinkle in our eyes, all the more so because I never really lost my belief in the jolly old elf.
Santa Claus, St. Nick, the spirit of Christmas, is real in this house. Very, very real. After all, how else do you explain the fact that every single year, SO MANY OTHERWISE RATIONAL PEOPLE are suddenly seized with an inexplicable urge to celebrate the joy, to be a part of the miracle? To give of their time and talents as if they were limitless?
It’s called deputizing. That’s right. The Big Guy reaches out, every single year, to those of us who have the happy combination of ‘means’ and ‘paying attention’, taps us on the shoulder and says, “Hey. Little help here?”
This is what I have told my children since they were old enough to notice this whole Christmas thing. The spirit that is Santa is real. You can’t see it. You aren’t going to hear him on the rooftops or stay up late and catch him at his work. It’s all part of $DEITY’s work, a specific department if you will that largely, but not solely, operates around the holy days of Winter – whether you call it Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, or Kwanzaa. (Welcome to the house of a Universalist, y’all.)
The guy in the mall? A deputy. The presents that appear under the tree? A little bird (cough-SANTA-cough) told me they’d like them. The presents we buy for other children, whose parents are currently lacking either the means or the ability to hear Santa’s voice? Part of the deputy-Santa gig.
If we’re very, very lucky indeed, the deputizing goes on. We’re allowed to help others all year, not just at Christmas. If we are extremely very much so blessed, we can hear that voice all year long.
It saved me that particular heart-wrenching ouch. And I love how, every year, my girls notice the ‘gift tree’ in our mall, hung all over with requests from children who aren’t looking forward to a particularly merry Christmas and start asking me: Are we deputies this year? Is Santa talking to you, mommy? Is Santa asking you to help again?
Of course he is, my darlings! Let’s do old Saint Nick proud!!
H. L. Mencken
22 hours ago