Santa Claus part of the magic of childhood

My Thoughts Exactly

Santa Claus part of the magic of childhood

If this looks the least bit  familiar, it’s because it is a  repeat Qf a favorite column of  mine orginally published Dec.  13, 1991. I thought it was  worth another run.

By LEIGH ANN WHIDDON

Lifestyles Editor

A little Irish immigrant girl  wrote a letter to Frank P.  Church, the editor The New York Sun many years  ago. It went like this:

Dear Editor: I am eight  years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa  Claus. Papa says, “If you see  it in The Sun,  it’s so.” Tell me  the truth, is there a Santa  Claus?  Virginia O’Hanlon

Mr. Church wrote a very  famous editorial from this  letter. In it, he told Miss  O’Hanlon that her friends  were wrong.  He said, “Yes.  Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Today, there are lots of  people who would like to dispel the myth of Santa Claus.  Next, they’ll be attacking the  Easter Bunny and the Tooth  Fairy, also.

Psychologists say that  Santa Claus is a lie and that  children trust their parents  to always tell the truth.

You may have seen the  movie “Miracle on 34th  Street.” It is about a little  girl, about seven years old,  who is the daughter of a business executive who works  for Macy’s Department Store.  Her mother always told her  the truth. This little girl did  not believe in Santa, or the  Easter Bunny, or the Tooth  Fairy (or any other kind of fairy.

Fairy tales held no magic  for her. She had no friends  because she never learned to  develop her imagination, and  as a result she could not  relate to children her own  age. When the other children  in the apartment building  played zoo, she saw no point  in pretending to be a monkey  or an elephant. She didn’t  know how.

She was seven going on  45. Only when she came to  believe in the magic of Santa  Claus, did her childhood  have any hope.

I’m no psychologist or psychiatrist, but I was a kid once.

I have never yet met, or  heard of, anyone who  became an axe-murderer  because he believed in Santa  Claus as a child.  I was probably the world’s  most gullible kid and when  my parents gave me the line  about Santa Claus, I bought  it — hook, line and sinker.  I will never forget Christmas when VI was six. We had  moved to Singapore in  October and it was a fore-  most concern of mine that  Santa Claus would fly all  across Texas looking for us  and we wouldn’t be there.  My daddy told me not to  worry; it didn’t matter if Santa found us or not, because  he was going to lock the door  so Santa couldn’t get in. That  was obviously my daddy’s  idea of a joke, but mother  and I didn’t think it was too  funny.  Mother got mad a daddy  for making a kid cry on  Christmas Eve. After my  mother repeatedly assured  me that Santa would find us  —and bring plenty of toys–  she  probably gave my daddy a  lecture he wasn’t likely to  forget.

Now I’m the adult. Last  summer, my 10-year-old  cousin Evan who also happens to be one of my most  favorite people in the world,  asked me to “tell me the  truth, please, do you believe  in Santa Claus?”  I turned the conversation  around and asked him why  he wanted to know.

He said  he wanted to know because  sometimes grown-ups tell  kids there is, when in fact  there probably isn’t. He was  insinuating that it was, in fact, the grown-ups who had  their facts mixed up, and not  the kids. I asked if he  believed, and he said he  wasn’t going to say.  He has  figured out that there isn’t a  Santa Claus, but he doesn’t  want to say, because if he  does he might not get all  those toys.

The kid is not dumb, he  knows which side his bread  is buttered on.

I don’t know if I’m ready  for Evan to quit believing. It’s  been fun these last 10 years  to hear all of his fantasies  about Santa Claus. It’s fun to  hear him talk about how  good he’s going to be, so San-  ta will visit him.

I do have one consolation,  though. Evan has a nine-  month-old brother. I get to  spend the next 10 years  watching Chase believe in  Santa Claus.

Even though I quit believing in Santa when I was 10, I  think he will always be a big  part of my life. And my  memories. I remember coming down the stairs on  Christmas morning and seeing a full stocking and a new  baby doll under the tree.  There was just something  magical about what happened in the still of the night.

So, let Santa bring all the  presents he wants. Just try  not to think about the fact  that in the middle of January, Santa is going to send a  bill

Epilogue: Evan is now 14  and well out of his Santa  stage. Chase in now four and  just really beginning to enjoy  his. It’s going to be afim  Christmas.