I was the youngest child in my family, so I was raised by a lot of adults — my parents, my grandparents, and my much older brothers. No one ever got around to telling me that Santa wasn’t actually real, but a representation of love and all good things for children. I probably figured it out when I was 8 or 9, but I never told my parents I knew the truth about Santa.
I had good reasons. First, there were always at least two amazing gifts under the tree, wrapped in special paper, from Santa. I do mean always — even into my teenage years and young adulthood! So, if I were to tell my folks I was in the know about all things Christmas, there was chance there would be less presents under the tree.
Secondly, and this didn’t last long, but it did stay with me a few years, I was not altogether sure that my parents knew about Santa. I mean, they always talked about him and encouraged me to write letters to him. Who was I to bear bad news to them?
Finally, as more nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews arrived, there just wasn’t a good time to openly discuss what was “real” versus what was philosophy in action.
My childhood letters to Santa were always put into the special mailbox. I realize (from being a parent myself), that these letters were merely a way to find out what I wanted. I spent my seventh Christmas in the hospital and I wrote Santa “please bring me a walking doll and please let me go home.” When I woke up in my hospital bed on Christmas morning, a three-foot tall, walking doll was next to me in the bed, even though in those days, hospital visiting hours were kept very strictly.
As a young pre-teen, I asked Santa for a pony. I didn’t get a pony that year, but I did get a huge German Shepherd, which was pretty close.
As an adult, I kept writing letters to Santa, typically in my daily journal. In December, 1984, I wrote “Dear Santa, I’m going to be married in a few weeks. Please let me be a good wife and partner and have a good marriage.” Time will tell if Santa granted this wish, I guess, but it looks good — we are coming up on our 33rd anniversary and still having fun.
In December, 1989, I penned, “Santa, I’m going to be a mom. Please let me a good mom and let us teach him the important things in life — love, happiness, kindness, and thoughtfulness.” Our son was born in April, 1990, and he’s grown into a fine young man, full of love and a good heart. Santa answered me again!
This Christmas, I asked Santa to help me make people smile whenever I can. Every smile and act of kindness reduces the stress in our lives just a little and that’s a gift worth having.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.