I remember being in middle school (early 2000s so pre elf on the shelf) and my parents asking me, “so what are your thoughts on Santa?” They were trying to see what I knew and what I would say. They didn’t want to kill their youngest’s spirit, but they also realized I was “too old” to believe in Santa.
The thing is, I didn’t believe in Santa, the guy with the big belly and white beard, I believed in the magic of Santa, the magic of strangers smiling at one another (pre mask days, of course) and doing something kind for one another with no hope of having the kindness returned.
One Sunday morning someone bought my dads Dunkin Donuts order, and that night he added a little extra to the collection basket. I’ve always loved this time of year- the slow pace of life, the magic in kids’ eyes, hearing Christmas carols, and most of all seeing the Christmas lights.
The magic in Santa is everywhere from people hosting toy drives, collecting money for different charities and kids singing out of tune at their holiday concert. Getting together with family that you only see a few times a year. Hearing stories of Christmas past, about your parents first Christmas married or maybe about the times when friends stepped in as family for whatever reason.
The magic in Santa is when it snows on Christmas Eve and as the kids fall asleep they hear bells jingling in the night, waiting for St. Nick to fill their stocking. Santa represents the mom in Walmart who forgot her debit card at home, but when she counts her cash, she has enough down to the penny. The magic of Santa is seeing a unhoused person on the corner and instead of driving by you give them $20, wish them well, and really mean it.
The magic of Santa is when your husband has been out of work for the last 3 months and he applies for a job and gets an interview within the next few days. The magic of Santa is seeing a friend you haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic, picking up right where you left off and truly appreciating the warmth of their hug. The magic of Santa is seeing a little girl asking her dad if mommy is coming home from being overseas and her dad, smiling as wide as he can saying “she’s on her way home.”
The magic of Santa is all around us and more importantly in us. It’s sending that text to a friend you’ve stopped speaking with. It’s surprising your kids with a trip to see family. It’s being able to payoff a bill that’s been over your head for months. It’s the little things that we tend to notice more, and act on more around the holidays.
So yes, I still believe Santa is real- Santa is in all of us.