It feels like just yesterday I was staring out my bedroom window squinting at the stars trying to make out Santa’s sleigh and reindeer in the snowy night sky. My heart was filled with magic as I held on tightly to the belief that Santa was out there flying around the world putting smiles on the faces of so many.
Christmas was simple in my childhood. We put up a tree, and my brother and I received one present each from Santa (nothing like kids these days, but oddly we never felt like we missed out – read more about why less toys are better). We didn’t leave milk and cookies out or have a big Christmas dinner, yet the magic of the holiday season captured my heart every time. During those early years celebrating Christmas, a whimsical feeling took hold that has never left me. Neither has the belief in Santa.
Let me make you a believer.
In sixth grade I was a kindergarten helper. I wore the title like a badge of honour. I loved being around younger children and being tasked to work with them on different projects. One adorable little boy captured my heart. I asked him what he wanted to ask Santa for Christmas, and he answered with a cynicism well beyond his years, “Santa isn’t real!!”
A five-year-old boy said Santa wasn’t real.
I was shocked and I tried to tell him otherwise. His only response was that his older brothers told him “the truth”. I didn’t know what to say back then to convince the little boy, but I know what I would say now – Santa is real.
Here’s why I still believe in the man in the red suit.
- When people and organizations decide to help those in need – that’s Santa. An organization I worked with took part in adopting a family for Christmas every year – usually a single mom with two or more kids. There wish lists were heartbreakingly simple – socks, pajamas, groceries and other everyday items. Along with these simple items, we donated luxuries these children would otherwise likely never see, like the latest toy or gadget. Things most of us would take for granted. The families were anonymous, so we only knew their first names, but to this day I think of them and hope our donation made a difference. So many organizations get on board this time of year to give back and it warms my heart every time. This is Santa in action.
- When you give a gift – that’s Santa. Behind every gesture of giving is the spirit of Santa. It may be traditional gifts or experiences or holiday greeting cards. The important part is we are pouring all our energy into thinking of others this time of year. What would make the days of our friends a little easier, their hearts lighter or bring a smile to their face. Sure, it’s nice to receive but there’s nothing quite like the joy of giving.
- When you share laughter, love and joy with others – that’s Santa. Perhaps it’s over an elaborate Christmas dinner with cherished loved ones or on the phone with long-distance relatives or even during a last-minute shopping trip to the mall. There is something about the holidays that puts a buzz in the air. This is amplified as people come together and connect. Moods are lifted, spirits are high, and a force of energy that can’t be seen but only felt is everywhere. That’s the spirit of Santa.
- When you say, “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” to everyone you meet around Christmas – that’s Santa. Behind every holiday sentiment is a wish for the wellbeing of others. It’s more than just exchanging pleasantries. It’s words that hold the truest wishes of the season – happiness, health, love and abundance. What other time of year do we full heartedly wish friends, family and strangers alike well?
- When you practice a sacred holiday tradition – that’s Santa. Bringing people together is what Santa is all about. Whether it’s gathering the family to go see festive displays of lights or curling up in blankets and reading books, like this amazing tradition in Iceland. During the holiday season we fully give ourselves permission to feel joy. We do what makes up happy with the people we love most. If that’s not Santa is action, I don’t know what is.
The magic of Santa is alive in all of us. Every act of generosity, kindness and love is a reminder of that. Share with me how Santa has shown up in your life during the holiday season.