I Believe in Santa Claus & Other Kid-Related Miracles

For a long time after I had tipped to the whole Claus Conspiracy, my mom continued to put gifts out on Christmas morning addressed to me from Santa.

I always enjoyed that pleasant fiction, the raised hands and smiling protestations when I thanked her ("Thank Santa!"). The "veil covering the unseen world" mentioned in the famous Yes, Virginia letter that was on each and every tag that said "Santa"—written in my mother's handwriting.

I think about that happy ritual now whenever my own children give me a card or gift, something clearly assisted by an adult's hand. "You made this," I breathe in pure wonder, and they grin and shuffle their feet.


I remember receiving a holiday card from my oldest boy when he was in preschool. He was just a little guy back then, barely capable of producing an unidentifiable crayon scrawl on a piece of butcher paper, but my card was a work of art. Someone with experience in cake adornment or scrapbooking or some other godforsaken craft that involves the minute application and adjustment of all sorts of decorative doohickeys had clearly spent a lot of time on this card; it was festooned with foam stickers and curling ribbons and evenly spaced punch-holes. A treacly little rhyme was printed on the inside, flanked by a printed digital photo of Riley's smiling face. The whole cardboard monstrosity was mired in a pool of glue on a paper plate. He held it up, beaming with pride.

My first card, handmade by my child! I sort of thought I might start crying.

"Oh, thank you," I said to my boy. "It's so wonderful!" I then turned to his teachers and said, "That was so nice of you guys."

They smiled and raised their hands and said no, no, it was from Riley.

... there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

Does it seem silly, to pretend that a 2-year-old is capable of Martha Stewart-levels of card craftsmanship? Personally, I think it's like that pleasant fiction, that covering veil, the romance to make tolerable this existence. What elevates you, just for a moment, above what is right in front of your face? What reminds you of life's love and bounty?

Some people insist upon the truth above all things, believing that stories of Santa Claus are ones of cruel deception. I don't agree. I like the idea of my children living in a world where Santa Claus is real. Where things happen in marvelous ways and their capabilities are boundless. Where they're given full credit for their intent ... even if it hasn't quite been matched by dexterity yet.

Image via Linda Sharps

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