A Christmas to remember

Published 11:00 pm Friday, December 20, 2013

When I was eight years old, I began having my doubts about the existence of Santa Claus. The facts concerning the big man did just not add up. How could one man hold all of the world’s presents in just one bag? How could nine reindeer fly all night without getting tired?

I considered myself an intelligent kid, and I had no desire to feel like a fool if it turned out that I had placed my faith in a make-believe character. Santa was an important person in my life. If Santa didn’t pull through for me each December, I would have to wait all the way until my birthday in September to receive any new toys.

In my eight-year-old mind, Santa was a red-clad savior, bearing gifts to help me through the second half of the school year. Santa was one of the most concrete, stable figures in my life. So far, he had been more reliable than even Saturday morning cartoons. If Santa weren’t real, what could I put my faith in? I was facing my first existential crisis.

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My friends weren’t much help. None of them had put much thought in to Santa. They took it for granted that he was real. All they knew is, when they woke up on Christmas morning, there were presents under the tree, and some of the gifts had Santa’s name on them.

I did have one friend, though, who was adamant that Santa wasn’t real. He told me after school one day that all his presents on Christmas came from his parents. I couldn’t put much stock in his opinion. His bad behavior was notorious throughout the elementary school. I naturally assumed he would be on Santa’s naughty list.

As Christmas was closing in, I still didn’t have an answer to my Santa conundrum. Nobody had proved much help so far, so I took matters in to my own hands. I hatched a foolproof plan that would settle the question of Santa’s existence.

Instead of having my mom help me with my letter to Santa, I determined to write it entirely on my own. I grabbed some paper and a pen and started to list out the four items (I didn’t want to put too much strain on Mr. Claus) that I wanted most for Christmas. At the bottom of the letter, I told Santa to prove himself to me by placing one of my gifts in my bed instead of under the Christmas tree.

My mom asked to see the letter, but I refused her any access. I put my letter in an envelope and sealed it myself. I wrote down Santa’s address and added a stamp. I demanded to immediately be taken to the post office to send the letter. My mom complied, and we sent my letter that afternoon.

On Christmas Eve, I tried to stay up to catch a glimpse of Santa, but my eight-year-old body couldn’t make it much past midnight. When I woke up in the morning, I felt around to see if Santa had left a present in my bed like I had asked. At first, I didn’t see anything, but, after some searching, I spied a colorfully-wrapped package at the very foot the bunk bed I shared with my brother.

I was shocked. In all honesty, I had not accepted for Santa to rise up to the challenge. In fact, I had been thinking that he probably didn’t exist. I opened the present, and it was the first thing I had listed in my letter. I looked down to the bottom bunk where my younger brother was sleeping, and there was a gift resting at the foot of his bed too.

I woke my brother up, and he couldn’t believe his eyes either. We were dumbstruck. Santa had been in our room just a few hours earlier, and we were completely oblivious to it. We rushed out to the Christmas tree and saw more presents than we could comprehend nestled beneath the tree’s branches. We both got everything we had asked for in our letters.

Needless to say, after that Christmas, I never wondered about Santa again.