I refuse to live in a world without Santa.
Santa is real. If you ever tell your kids that Santa isn’t real, stop buying them presents.
I can’t remember a time when I thought some fat white guy in a red soot-resistant suit came down a chimney and left presents under a tree that we keep alive for weeks after cutting off all the parts that keep it alive. Perhaps I believed all of that once.
The important thing is that at 33 and as an atheist, I am telling you that Santa is the most important belief in the world to me. I hope that your children refuse to give up Santa well into adulthood. You see, Santa is this creepy guy with cameras everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE that knows everything you do and decides how good or bad you’ve been and rewards you appropriately. I believe that and I never want to stop.
There was a time when I was unemployed and terribly depressed. There was a point it got to where I was looking for an easy exit from life. A door I could slip quietly out of and let everyone else go on with their lives without the burden of me. I got in a car and I drove over a thousand miles to Santa’s doorstep. Santa was not rich. He had an alright day job and scraped things together to feed Mrs. Clause and their three elves. They lived fairly comfortably, but made difficult decisions about what could be afforded and what would be forgone.
Somewhere along the line, they found a way to afford me living in their house for a while. I was at the bottom of the barrel. I didn’t know what a barrel was. I saw apples rotting all around me and the world was piled up on me pushing me down and crushing the life out of me. It wasn’t all that bad, but it was. Anyone who’s been there and come back knows what I mean, and the rest of you don’t need to. Regardless, I was given a gift.
He was a great friend for a great long time. He knew everything I did. He knew the good in me. He found a way to help me when I needed it. Santa is that quality of friendship. He saw me do good. He saw me do bad. He made a list and checked it twice. Sometimes the gifts you give aren’t that huge. Sometimes they are not given at Christmas.
Raise your children to believe in that Santa. Raise your children to be that Santa. Every year, we gather with friends and family and share love and joy during the holidays. The reason we need to stop and share the joy with those people is because they are the same people who share our misery throughout the year. There will be years that you may not be able to afford to spend money and wrap gifts to put under a tree. In the grand scheme of things, of all the difficult decisions you make about spending money, remember that the goal here is to share joy and hope.
Teach your children that the reason you give gifts is to thank people for being in your life. Teach your children that to accept gifts from others is to accept their thanks. It is an odd thing to consider how much that reverses and at the same time enhances the meaning and spirit of Christmas. If you follow what I just said, you should open presents and say “You’re welcome” to the people who gave them to you. Or perhaps we should all just accept the gifts and time and hope and cheer and all just say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who reads my ramblings double thanks for those of you who actually click “like”.
Thank you to my parents and siblings and my wonderful niece and brother-in-law for being just what family is. We’ve had our differences and we are so different and all have our own problems and lives, but what a family it is.
Thank you to all my “friends” and all my friends.
Thank you to “Jeannette” and “Sarah” and all the women that “Mary” is.
Thank you to the woman who asked the question that ended my marriage.
Thank you to my ex-wife and in-laws for showing me love and kindness and the power of a family to stick together through almost anything. You are among the most cherished memories and among some of the people I respect most.
Thank you to the other knight I go drinking with and share misery and wisdom with as if I was some old learned man and who always tries to remind me of how young I actually am.
Thank you to the people I work with. Each of you has enriched my life in so many ways that the fact we work together seems a divine comedy sometimes.
Words will never be enough to thank “Santa” and Mrs. Clause and their 3 elves for that time and all the others. If ever you lose faith or hope, these little elves will bring some of it back and I cherish that always.
This year has been tough, but it is a pleasure to stand here with so many people to thank. If you ever doubt whether Santa exists, stop and start listing all the people you need to thank.