Monday, December 29, 2003

Santa Stories

When I was 7 or 8, I asked my mother if Santa Claus was real. Kids at school were talking... and since we didn't even have a fireplace, it seemed reasonable that it could have been someone other than St. Nick.

My mother told me about Santa Claus and about how he wasn't a real man, but an embodiment of all the things wonderful and magical in making children happy. She told me how parents snuck around on Christmas Eve, setting out presents and filling stockings, because they had the Magic of Santa in them, and it made them feel so wonderful. She told me that as long as there are small children in the world who could be delighted by surprise and mystery, then there would always be Santa Claus. It was something to keep to yourself, a secret in your heart, to carry with make future generations of children happy. She told me to smile when I was photographed with the Santa at the mall, because he was sharing the Magic, too... she told me never to tell a child that Santa wasn't "real" because indeed he was... and I was living proof. She taught me about how the warm feeling of gratitude was a bigger gift than anything stuffed into slick paper or a shirt box... which is why parents received small gifts at the holidays, while their children woke to a Toyland. She taught me appreciation and wonder... she taught me magic and joy and love in places unexpected...

The Tooth Fairy, however, is real. Brush and floss daily.

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