Why I believe in Santa Claus
By Deborah Mitchell, HappyNews Citizen Journalist
There's not much magic around anymore. Scientists can tell us where rainbows come from, what the moon is made of and why the wind blows. We've identified every last gene in human DNA. But at least, there's still Santa Claus and his flying reindeer left to our imagination.As a parent, it is tempting to do away with the jolly man entirely. After all, he's been blamed for running over Grandma, holding up banks and contributing to the greediness of minors. For centuries, his credibility—indeed his existence—has been questioned.
The guy should get a break.
After all, children need magic. They need to believe in fairy tales, in men and women who have super-human traits, in people who embody our society's ideals of honor, behavior and morals. They need to believe in someone, other than Mom and Dad, who will travel continents just to bring children something they might want, whether it's food or toys or the reconciliation of their family.Cultural icons, such as Santa, help kids to believe in good and bad in its simplest form—without all the confusions of gray. Santa Claus, of course, would never break the speed limit in his sled or spank Rudolph for eating the cookies. No, Santa is as good as they get. He loves all children equally, he always has time to listen to kids, and he's never in a bad mood. (Though he may appear to be in awful mood sitting in the mall, he's really just uncomfortable in his winter suit.) Some say that Santa makes the season too commercial. Yet it is common knowledge that December 25 holds two distinct holidays: the Holy Day and the Hallmark Day. The former transcends the secular aspect of Christmas. The latter is the day that we can all celebrate, regardless of our age or religion. Throughout the two-month long holiday season, Americans are united in shopping malls as willing participants in our country’s economic revival. Yes, we all know that Santa is fun, that giving gifts to children (in moderation) is enjoyable. It is the memory of our children’s smiles when they see presents under the tree on Christmas morning that makes us want to shop all over again, in spite of ridiculously long lines and tired, impatient crowds that made us swear last year we would never venture into another toy store. It’s the only time of the year I let my children have new toys. And Christmas gives me the time and the reason to do for others—and to teach my kids, too. You might think that I should be doing this all year long, but in reality, common folk don’t usually take the time—nor have the money—to play Santa and shop for another family who needs basic items such as clothes and food. Most days, I don’t have time to shop for bread much less bake bread for my neighbors; but during Christmas, somehow, I find the time. The season brings out the best in us.
No, it’s not just kids who benefit from believing in Santa. We all need him: children, adults, even our economy. We need him now more than ever—now, while many of the world’s mysteries are becoming extinct under the rule of science, while we are becoming increasingly isolated from our neighbors. Santa brings out the best in us, the giving spirit. And he brings us a gift we cannot find any other place: the gift of magic.