Ok, I'm going to make a confession. I think I'm old enough, that I can handle the razzing. I do not want anyone to make fun of me.
I believed in Santa until seventh grade.
I see some jaws dropping.
But you know what? I am really glad I did. Because I had 12 years of magic that maybe many kids did not get. I feel sorry for those youngsters who were spoiled by 1st or 2nd grade.
Do you remember the magic? Coming downstairs, or coming to the living room and seeing all those "other" presents. The ones HE brought. That magic man in the red suit, how did he do it? Because you cannot imagine that your parents could be so sneaky and secretive. I mean, when did they go shopping? They spent all their time with you!
Leaving the cookies and milk out for Santa and they were gone, eaten, drunk up! How did that happen? Because you cannot imagine that your parents would be so conniving as to eat and drink what you left.
It's very difficult for me to remember one specific Christmas before I was in seventh grade. But I do remember the awe I felt when I came down the stairs and just saw so many more presents around the tree than there had been the night before. I remember the bulging stockings we had, which were sitting on the living room chairs or sofas, because we didn't have a fireplace. We always got an apple, an orange, and nuts. I never worried that we didn't have a fireplace and chimney per se. It never seemed to be an issue. Santa was magic, so I'm sure he could adapt with the times. I remember thinking how much more sparkling the tree looked, even in the daylight without the tree's lights on. It was like the magic had cast its spell on the whole room and it was full of joy and anticipation.
When in sixth grade, I had friends talking to me about Santa, questioning it, talking about parents pushing on them to see if they were awake. I thought perhaps it wasn't Santa, but maybe there was still some kind of magic taking care of things. That was ok by me.
Seventh grade, we were in a new town. I was in a new school, a junior high. Maybe high time I let go of the fantasy. But the clincher was that Santa brought be a brand new sweatsuit, with the school name and mascot logo on it. Red and gold. It was awesome and I knew, that clearly, it was from my mom and dad. Dad was the assistant principal at this junior high. For some reason, I couldn't believe that Santa had done it. It made more sense that my dad had picked it up from school. I don't ever remember telling my parents I didn't believe anymore. The next year, I got to be Santa, by making my very little sister a bracelet for her new "Santa-brought" Cabbage Patch Kid doll. I really felt special, because I got to be "behind the magic." I knew it was also special not to spoil it for my brother and sister. I knew what they might miss if they found out so soon.
I suppose that's how the magic gets to live on. It is a grand, huge lie we tell our children every year. But the looks on their faces, and getting to remember the magic through those looks, why give it up now? For me, I'm going to try my hardest to let my kids have the magic as long as they can. Because once we're grown up, it is hard to find the magic in our own lives.
Though with children, you can still have the chance to feel it every day.
And every year, at this time of year, you know the big man is filling up his pack and sleigh and getting ready to put some magic in your house.
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to our life its highest beauty and joy. "
"No Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, maybe 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the hearts of children."
--Taken from New York Sun editorial, September 20, 1897 by Francis. P. Church