Hi, my name is Greg. I’m fifty-five years old and I believe in Santa Claus. Some would say this is delusional. Some would say it’s time I grew up. But, let me explain:
It all began when I was a child growing up in Vancouver. My parents blatantly propagated Santa’s existence (some would say they lied to me). It was a wonderful childhood of Christmases long, long ago when times were less skeptical and children had vivid imaginations. (This was before computer games, mind you.) The space age was at its height and the radio and TV news would even report sightings of The Claus by astronauts and air force pilots. So why wouldn’t I believe? And why can’t I believe now?
You see, Mom and Dad would concoct elaborate schemes to make Christmas magical for my two sisters and me. When I was about eight years old, doubt in old Saint Nick began to creep into my mind. Classmates no longer believed and were vocal. The Santa at my Dad’s company party—a family friend—laughingly pulled his beard down and almost stole the fantasy from me.
From then on those mall Santas were more than a little suspicious, if not differing from one another. The next year my Dad would play Santa at the Hough School Christmas party (we were allowed those back in the 1960’s). I knew it was him and I sat on his lap proudly. But it was that year—that very Christmas—when I was eight that my doubts and disbelief were forever banished.
It was Christmas Eve 1966. As tradition, my family piled into the old station wagon to head out for a lazy drive around the local neighborhoods for a look at the Christmas lighting displays. Just as we were about to pull out of the drive Mom announced that she had forgot her purse. Dad said that we needed gas and he would drive up to the corner station and come back for Mom in a few minutes. Mom ran in, we drove off. Arriving back just minutes later we picked Mom up and went about oooing and aahing at the sights of Christmas around Vancouver.
Coming home that evening I was filled with even greater awe and much wonderment. Underneath our icicle-laden Christmas tree was a stack of brightly-wrapped presents! How? Could Santa be real after all? It was the best Christmas ever. I don’t remember what I got for gifts, but I do remember that I was given back the gift of belief.
Sometime later my mother revealed to me the secret of the magic. As you may have guessed, in returning for her purse, she had pulled all of the presents from assorted hiding places and scurried about in preparation while we went to the gas station and back. It was my mother who was Santa Claus!
Today I know that Santa isn’t a fat, jolly old elf who lives at the North Pole, but is real none-the-less. He is the spirit of giving, belief, magic and faith that lives in the hearts of people…like my Mom.
This story is dedicated to my Mother who passed away April 2007. Gregory E. Zschomler, of Cannon Beach, is an author of books for children.