I was reading a post this morning asking the best way to out Santa Claus to your children. Several readers offered helpful advice. I was at the ready to offer my own and thought better of it. But the thought is still there. I had always followed along with the rest of the country with this Santa Claus thing. It was fun to some extent.
I first learned of Santa Claus at the age of six. That’s usually when most children start to question his existence. That year I learned Santa was real. I have believed in Santa ever since.
We were a dirt poor military family. Most months there wasn’t enough food left before the next payday to feed us so several families my parents knew would get together and combine what was left in their cupboards to feed all of us. Money for a tree or gifts was out of the question. My parents were both hard workers. Mom didn’t have a job; she had us and the house but was always trying to find ways to make extra money at home.
Dad took us out one night to see if he could cut down a tree in the Colorado woods. His only tool was a pocket knife. Result, no tree. Disappointment weighed heavy on my heart.
Mom and dad walked back in our door with my little sister in tow and of course, I dragged behind; disappointment punctuating every step. The porch was dark but looking up, I saw a shadow. I looked harder. I shouted for my parents. Is this a tree on our porch? They finally turned on the porch light and there it stood in all its glory. The parents looked at each other and I could tell they had no clue where the tree had come from. They were with me so I knew they didn’t put it there. It had to be Santa. I have believed in Santa ever since.
When you study the phenomena of Santa Claus you know of course St. Nicholas was the European version. He brought gifts to the poor and did it secretly. We never knew who put the tree on our porch but as I grew, I knew I too could be Santa. We had almost nothing in the way of toys my entire childhood but I always had the magic of a mysterious kind heart that gave what was necessary to keep the wonder of the season in a child’s heart.
My gift to my children was to raise them to have generous and kind hearts. When you teach children to reach out to others even when you have little yourself, you have gifted the world. There are so many children that have so many toys. It would be lovely if they were taught to gift toys they no longer favored but were still in perfect condition to others. I know many that do. Santa Claus is alive and well in the body of many who care.
I think that’s a fairy tale your children can live with.
From my heart to yours
Marlene Herself HO HO HO