That is the sentiment that I share with my boys, in regards to the age old question, 'Is Santa real?' My oldest son who is nine, has been questioning Santa's existence for a few years now, and though I don't want to really tell him the truth, I don't want to outright lie to him either. He'll ask me, 'do you believe in Santa?' I can honestly reply, 'yes'. I then continue, I believe in what he represents, which is the magic of giving, and the overall warm feeling of the Christmas season. And let's face it, the month of December usually starts out with that euphoric feeling that comes with the holidays. That initial excitement of putting the tree up, seeing the neighbourhoods all aglow with lights, the smell of holiday baking fills the air and the anticipation of planning the perfect gift for the ones you love. Granted as the month goes on, the patience wears a little thin, the Christmas joy you had a couple weeks prior that had you smiling at strangers has now been replaced by giving people your best stink eye as they take the parking spot that you swear you spotted first, the first, and second batch of baking has long been consumed and your version of the perfect gift now is defined by a bulk pack of tube socks for everyone on your list. I mean, everyone wears socks right?
I hang on tight to the faith that once the last thing on our to-do list has been marked off, we'll all return back to that euphoric feeling that kicked off at the beginning of the month. So because of that, yes, I do believe in Santa. This is a big statement from a woman who doesn't even have any recollection of believing in Santa as a girl. I am the youngest of four kids and the only girl, so I'm sure by the time I came along, my brothers were bored with the whole charade of Santa. Before I even really had a chance to think through the issue, my brother who is three years older than me basically said, 'look, there's no Santa – mom and dad give us the stuff.' My brother was always pretty streetwise and I think he just wanted me to be up to speed on the whole thing. Probably didn't want me to embarrass myself, we were a fairly savvy group of kids and nobody needed a little sister who was the equivalent of Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin. I know there was a guy dressed up as Santa at Woodward’s but I was a pretty shy kid so it wasn't like I was going to get anywhere close to him to further inspect the possibility of if he was genuine. I did however, let my Mom go in line to 'represent' me and get me the Santa button and candy cane. Besides, I thought the entire setup was a bit shifty. I was a shy kid, and a suspicious one too.
Despite those early memories of being told, 'forget it kid, it's a sham', I still believe. I believe that, we do become kinder to one another, and we, for a moment at least, really reflect on what's important in our life. That we do stop and wonder how other people will manage and also how we can help those who may struggle more than ourselves. So that is what Santa is to me, hope dressed up in a red suit. I do believe and I do receive, and what I most like to get is the feeling that indeed we can extend that kindness to the rest of the year. The best thing about the gift of kindness is that it fits everyone and it's something we all need. It is also the best gift for the recipient to return, without the hassle of standing in long customer service lines in January! You've got to believe to receive, sort of the same idea as, 'if you build it, they will come'. That is what Santa is to me. Merry Christmas everyone!
Secret Agent Mel – Writer and Santa believer