Friday 18 December 2015

The Santa Mystery

This came to me on facebook today and it struck a chord. Now, I don’t know where it began or if this Simmons guy actually wrote it. I assume he did, but who knows with facebook. The best part is that I don’t have to write a blog tonight and the two people that read it tomorrow might just enjoy it. Have fun and be Santa.

When I was a kid, I did what all kids eventually do. I figured out that Santa Claus was my parents. One by one, my friends figured it out, too. Some of them were outraged, some disappointed; none were happy about it. Being an odd kid, I was just sort of confused about it, but I kept playing along because the game was fun and I didn’t want to spoil things for my sister. Maybe it was the refusal to resolve the issue, maybe it was the background process in my brain, or maybe it was that Irish trait of being able to happily keep contradictory beliefs going, but I think I made it all the way to my pre-teens, years after figuring out the mechanics of the Santa game, before I worked through the crisis. I’d already been in on the conspiracy for some time, but then one day it occurred to me that Santa is real because we make him real. Then it hit me that parents weren’t just pretending to be Santa Claus - they were Santa Claus! And if they were Santa Claus, it was because they chose to be. They took on the role. And if they can do it... Like a thousand red and green C-9 bulbs flashing on at once, enlightenment came.

I am Santa!

I already had my presents bought and wrapped that year, but I went back out shopping again. I just got a few little extras. I can’t even recall what they were - bookmarks or candy or something. And on Christmas Eve, I waited up, listening for my parents to finish doing their Santa Claus thing. When they went to bed, I crept out to the living room and added my contributions to the stockings, then went to bed myself. Seeing the surprise on Mom and Dad’s faces the next morning was the final initiation. I was Santa Claus!

Flash forward several decades. I got married to a wonderful woman, and eventually we had a daughter - a very smart, observant daughter with a knack for figuring out puzzles. From age 6 or so, I could tell she was getting suspicious. Probably the only reason she didn’t ask the Big Question that year was she didn’t really want to know, yet. All that year, she asked questions about magical and fantastic things, trying to determine their reality. I introduced her to the concept of Mysteries, and explained how some things can be both real and not real at the same time. I joked that I don’t believe in faeries, and they don’t put much stock in me, either. The wheel of the year turned, the Christmas season approached again, and Beth and I figured that this would be the year our girl would finally ask about Santa. Unlike many parents, I was looking forward to it. You see, in addition to being smart, observant, and good at puzzles, she’s very generous and fond of secrets, and I had the perfect Mystery to initiate her into. When the decorations were up and the presents were wrapped and the season was in full swing, she finally asked Beth and me “Are you Santa Claus?”

I said “Yes. And so can you.”

She gave me that “Try making some sense, Dad” look.
“Yes, we are Santa Claus. And now that you know, you can be Santa Claus, too!”

The wheels turned. Some small trace of anxiety fell away, replaced by plans. “So I can put stuff in everyone’s stockings?”


“But you’re not allowed to peek!”

“Certainly not!”

And that Christmas, Santa brought us all a few extra candies and dollar toys and bookmarks. And the world was made richer by one more Santa Claus.

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