By Althea Turley
“It all seemed so believable. With all the Christmas songs, commercials, movies, stories, websites and letter chains to Santa, who wouldn’t question the authenticity of a ‘jolly old fellow’ in a red suit flying around Christmas night. He flies around the whole world in one night with magical reindeer pulling his sleigh, and enough goodies in his sleigh for every boy and girl. He is hundreds of years old, lives in a magical place no human has ever been to and is helped by teeny little people with an intense sugar craving.
Ok, maybe that does sound absurd, but it was all so magical and it seemed so real when I was younger.”
This was all I had written in my notebook that I had left open on my kitchen table when my mom picked it up and read it.
She started off fairly calm, asking, “What are you thinking? Are you crazy? This better not be for your newspaper.”
She slowly became really upset; not angry, but worried about my reputation as a journalist.
When I told her it was for the paper, she flipped.
“No one will want to read that! What if little kids read it?” she said.
She told me I shouldn’t write it because my name would get associated with the article, and that would be a bad thing because a sibling or even a student would pick my story up, and I would “break that poor baby’s heart.” That was the exact phrase she used.
I pointed out that she was ridiculous. My target audience is 14-18 year-olds, and if any of them still believed in Santa, I was doing them a big favor. That did nothing to make her feel better; she is still calling me Mr. Grinch.
My mom’s extreme reaction made me wonder if she’s the only one who is so protective of this secret. Once one kid is told there is no Santa, the word spreads like wildfire. Half of the people I know found out the hard way: from another child.
Grown-ups are the exact opposite. They do back flips to keep up the elaborate charade. They lie to each new generation, and that generation lies to the next.
That is a wonderful lie. As a child the belief in Santa is beautiful. Children thrive on the fantastic. The motivation for children to be good is a boon to parents and children love how the little things they do are rewarded.
Sometimes kids are crushed when they find out the truth, but sooner or later they have to find out the reality of life and they can grow up to become the next generation of Santas.