“Santa Claus is not real,” announced a little girl in my class last week. “It’s grandmas and grandpas who bring all the gifts. My mom told me.”
I looked up from what I was doing, horrified.
The class considered her remark for a moment. Then immediately, one child said: “That’s not true. “ Another followed up confidently: “There is a Santa Claus.” And another: “I saw him one time.”
In the back of my mind, I wondered if I was bearing witness to a historic moment in the lives of 17 kids – the awful revelation that there is no Santa. That moment you remember for the rest of your life. How old were you when you found out Santa wasn’t real? You remember that moment! It is deflating. I don’t remember how old I was, but I have the distinct memory of being angry that someone had told me. Everything was ruined!
Believing serves as a metaphor for all the joyous mysteries and magic in life. If Santa’s not real, neither is the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Superman, or various other characters of faith. I mean, really, where do you draw the line when you hear Santa is a fake?
My heart was breaking just a little when I heard this girl blurt out her news. But the response was – forgive me – a little bit like an old classic Christmas movie. The entire class not only insisted without a shred of doubt that Santa was real. They actually began to convince our resident naysayer that he was real as well.
No one batted an eye with the news of the Santa scam. The kids simply didn’t believe it. I mean they didn’t even consider that she could have a point. The communal belief was powerful and persuasive, even this little girl stopped to ponder the possibility.
I stopped worrying that we had a “There-is-no-Santa” scandal on our hands. He is real because the kids said so. They believe it. And so do I. Happy Holidays!