I was mortified to realize that one year my daughter sat on Santa’s lap four times: 1) story hour at the hospital 2) a Christmas party at a friend’s house 3) an office party with her grandma 4) a visit to her preschool. By the time Santa stopped by her classroom and asked her what she wanted, she looked confused and replied, “You already gave it to me.” That’s when I decided we needed to avoid Santa the same way we avoided Aunt Rose’s fruitcake.
How are children supposed to believe in the magic of Christmas when every man with a white beard claims to live at the North Pole? Personally, I wish Mr. Claus would return home to help the elves--leaving more to children’s imaginations.
I much prefer hearing stories of real-life “Santas” like the anonymous woman in an Indianapolis KMart who recently paid off over 50 people's layaways. Or Sal Dimiceli from Wisconsin whose childhood was filled with hunger, evictions and shame. As an adult, he became a millionaire. But he never forgot what it was like to be poor. For the last twenty years, he has given most of his money away. He helps pay electric bills, fix heaters and provide housing to struggling families. “We have to love one another and take care of each other,” he says. That is what Christmas is all about.
It’s such a short window when kids believe in the magic of Santa. Let my family have these moments, please. Focus on the generosity of real people and leave Mr. Claus out of sight. Besides, anyone who has watched “Miracle on 34th Street” knows the real Kris Kringle works at Macy’s in New York. That’s a long way from Indiana. And that’s just fine with me.
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