The Real Santa Claus

Christmas was round the corner. But instead of being excited, I was disturbed when my classmates tried to convince me this morning that Santa Claus was not real after all. I felt my little world crumbling before me. How could there be Christmas without Santa? As my Dad drove me back from school, I raised this issue with him. “The kids at school are wrong, Patty. Santa Claus is real,” said my father reassuringly. “But there is more I need to tell you about Santa. I think you are old enough now to understand what I am going to share with you. Are you ready?”

I was ready because I trusted my father completely. He would never lie to me.

“Once upon a time there was a real man who travelled the world and gave away presents to deserving children everywhere he went. You will find him in many lands with different names, but what he had in his heart was the same in every language. In America we call him Santa Claus. He is the spirit of unconditional love and the desire to share that love by giving presents from the heart. When you get to a certain age, you come to realize that the real Santa Claus is not the guy who comes down your chimney on Christmas Eve. The real life and spirit of this magical elf lives forever in your heart, my heart, Mom’s heart and in the hearts and minds of all people who BELIEVE IN THE JOY THAT GIVING TO OTHERS BRINGS. The real spirit of Santa becomes what you can give rather than what you get. Once you understand this and it becomes a part of you, Christmas becomes even more exciting and more magical because you come to realize that magic comes from you when Santa lives in your heart. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you?”

I was afraid to look at my father, the person who had told me all of my life that Santa was a real being. I wanted to believe like I believed last year – that Santa was a big fat elf in a red suit. As I turned my head and looked at him with tearful eyes, I saw that his face shone with the light of a thousand galaxies and I saw in his eyes the eyes of Santa Claus – the ‘real’ Santa Claus. The one who spent time choosing special things I had wanted for all the Christmases past since the time I had come to live on this planet. I got it. I got the joy, the sharing, the love.

“Now you belong to a special group of people”, Dad continued. “You will share in the joy of Christmas from now on, every day of the year, not only on a special day. For now, Santa lives in your heart just like he lives in mine. It is your responsibility to fulfill the spirit of giving as your part of Santa living inside of you. This is one of the most important things that can happen to you in your whole life, because now you know that Santa Claus cannot exist without people like you and me to keep him alive. Do you think you can handle it?”

Of course, Dad! I want him to be in my heart, just like he’s in yours. I love you Daddy. You’re the best Santa there ever was in the whole world!