Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you teach your children to believe in Santa?
Well, I was brought up believing in Santa Claus. I tell people when Santa brings you a horse for Christmas, you had better believe
I was 7 years old and wanted a horse for Christmas. I told everyone who would listen that all I wanted was a horse, and that if I couldn’t have a horse, I didn’t want anything. Christmas morning, there was no horse tied outside the picture window, as close to underneath the tree as I could imagine. There were other presents for me, so I thought there was no way there could be a horse. I joined the family opening gifts, but I guess my disappointment shone through, for when were finished unwrapping everything under the tree, my father asked me what was wrong. I said that he knew what was wrong, that I didn’t get my horse. That’s when the fun began.
He asked if I had checked the barn. No, our barn was still under construction, but I grabbed my coat and boots and went to see, hoping and expecting to see a horse. No horse. I returned back to the house, disappointed anew. Then Dad said well, maybe Santa left it somewhere else since our barn wasn’t finished. So the family piled into the car and drove to the neighbor’s farm where my sister boarded her horse. Again, no horse. But my father was not finished. He asked if I knew anyone else with a barn where Santa may have left the horse. So we drove to my Aunts where my brother lived in the tenant house, and there was a paint waiting for me.
So I was one of the lucky kids in the world to get a horse for Christmas. Many children at age 7 are starting to doubt Santa’s existence, but not me.
When my own children went through the stage of doubting, I told them about the Santa we traditionally visited to tell him what they wanted. This Santa was actually a woman and was so good at her job that she was portrayed in an article in a famous lady’s magazine. Every year a local business sponsored her location. She had a young very small lady play an elf; she wrote a long list of what children wanted, had photos of her reindeer, and as the years progressed, really remembered children’s names. But the thing that made her such a phenomenal Santa is that on Christmas Eve she visited under privileged families in the county, providing trees, Christmas dinner, and of course toys. She allowed us to participate in this too, as we could give her new or lightly used toys to help other children. My favorite personal story of this is the year my niece asked for a doll house for Christmas. She was almost too old for such a toy, but that is what she wanted and we had her name in the family gift exchange. By the next Christmas she was no longer interested in the toy and had played with it very little. The gift was given to Santa to find a new home. After Christmas Santa wrote a letter to tell us that the gift went to a little girl confined to a wheel chair and it was the perfect table top toy for her. We had the joy of giving that gift twice. So I told my children that the Santa they visited every year was a real Santa. To this day, my oldest of 32 says he still believes in Santa.