I’m not sure if you remember me – it’s been about 30 years since I last addressed a letter to you. I’m sorry I haven’t written sooner but after my sister broke the news to me about your fictitious existence, I didn’t really see the need to waste the postage any longer. Though admittedly, I’ve come to wonder if she was really right at all.
My family recently made the trip into New York City to visit the tree at Rockefeller Center, the famous department store windows all adorned with holiday décor and the majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral. While meandering through the city on a chilly December’s day, a few light snow flurries danced around our heads making it almost impossible not to be in the holiday spirit.
But it was our visit to Macy’s which served as the inspiration for this recent letter to you. As hundreds of spectators ascended escalators like herds of cattle, it became clear that everyone was headed for the toy department on the eighth floor. It was there we found you sitting amongst a magnificent holiday display – an eager line of children with their parents all gathering for their chance to see you.
As I stood there for a moment watching child after child happily sit upon your lap, I recognized something I hadn’t seen in a while. Something present on the faces of every young child who smiled when they first laid eyes upon you. It wasn’t something you could touch and feel or taste and smell. No it was something more than that. An energy and spirit which I remember having not too long ago and oftentimes feel that I’ve lost. It was simply the power to believe.
For decades we’ve all heard the adage that Christmas is for children, and truthfully I’m not going to argue. Christmas is for children, at least the Christmas created by the department stores and manufacturers who measure holiday spirit in dollars and cents and toy sales. But I think your message is for everyone, young and old, even though it’s so often overlooked. That anything is possible in life – that sometimes you just have to have a little faith and believe even “when common sense tells you not to” as was stated by Maureen O’Hara in the popular Christmas favorite “Miracle on 34th Street”.
But as I look around today, people don’t seem to have much faith in anything and believe even less in happy endings. Today we’re all faced with economic unrest, family turmoil, loss and grief and a sea of disappointments which erase all the joy from the holidays.
But as I sat in front of my Christmas tree thinking about the difficulties of the past year while listening to such holiday favorites as “O Holy Night” and “White Christmas,” it dawned on me that even though my sister told me you didn’t exist years ago, you are still very much alive and well inside my heart.
A childlike naivety still lives in my heart. It causes me to dream of scenarios for my life which more than likely will never happen, and yet I still believe in the back of my mind that there is always a possibility. The legend of Santa Claus has taught us all, has taught me, that there is nothing wrong with believing that tomorrow is another day filled with an endless array of possibilities. One of the only reasons we still say that Christmas is for children is their ability to dream, to believe – no matter how illogical it might seem to us.
Sorry for the long windedness Santa. I just wanted to acknowledge your existence in the hearts and souls of all those who possess the power to believe – to have hope. Maybe this holiday season you could help others who are lost, feeling hopeless or just simply caught up in the material gift giving of Christmas and tell them that sometimes you just need to believe in tomorrow. Believe in what is possible. Believe that sometimes even the most unbelievable things can be more real than we might think.
Happy Holidays Everyone!