I have a friend, a sometime reader and commenter on this blog, who stubbornly refuses to buy into Santa. This is a mistake and I have told her so. Repeatedly. Santa Claus is, to toddlers and children, The Christmas Man. Stockings can be filled with tangerines, toothbrushes, and other toiletries instead of buckets of crap but St. Nick is Jesus’ hook, if you will. (Just look at all the goodies you get if you just believe!) An American transmogrification of St. Nicholas, the Catholic patron saint of children, unmarried women, and sailors, Santa Claus is the Protestant commercial version of a real person who died on December 6, 343 A. D. in Turkey*. An artist at Coca Cola gave him the red suit and is largely responsible for his current image which today enthralls children globally.
I was reminded of this Advent dilemma sitting on my couch having a cuppa green tea Sunday afternoon after a 2008 calendaring session with Mr. Understanding. (It is shaping up to be a busy year.) The Christmas lights on the tree were twinkling in the background, the paperwhites, the first ever in 12 years were blooming on the mantle, and all was quiet on the Western front. When the calendaring session was over, I picked up a little book given to me by a friend from our collection of Christmas books on the coffee table. Republished in it is Frank P. (for Pharcellus, a name Gwyneth might want to consider in the future) Church’s response to 8 year old Virginia O’Hanlon’s query as to the existence of Santa Claus (go to http://www.christmas-poems.com to read for yourself).
Santa, to me, is the beginning of belief in things that we cannot see, like atoms, angels, and even evil, a journey we take that lasts a lifetime. He is always in a good mood. He fills stockings with care. What’s not to like? I rest my case with the following Chinese proverb: A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark. Especially Santa Claus.
* see http://www.stnicholascenter.org. It will answer all your questions which are way beyond the scope of this blog.