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A Santa Letter (but not the kind you think)

I started writing this letter two full years ago, in anticipation of the day when I’d be asked that age old question … “Is Santa real?” But, alas, I have children after my very own heart and, so far, they’ve never asked. This year, I have a 12-year-old. And, I know, based on the underwhelming enthusiasm on display this season, that he knows. He knows, but doesn’t want confirmation. He knows, but doesn’t want to hear me say. He knows and it feels a little bit (or a lot bit) sad. This I understand. I understand all of it. This was me as a child. In fact, I never, ever asked the question … and maybe he won’t either. Maybe neither of my children will. But, if they do, I have this letter. This letter that their momma wrote. A letter that allows the magic to stay … that invites the magic to stay … even if it’s never quite the same …

(Photo 2019)

Dear Sweet Child of Mine,

Is there a Santa?

I have been anticipating (dreading, possibly) this day – this conversation – for a long, long time. Your childhood has been (and is) so precious and so cherished. So dear. I hate to see any part of it come to an end. I’ve loved this sweet, sweet chapter of you life so much. My heart has yearned for it to last – and it has – and for that I’m grateful.

But, as every momma knows, this day is bound to come. The day you ask about Santa. Or, maybe the day I decide you need to know. The last thing I wanted was to be caught off guard. To not have the best response prepared. To say the wrong thing. To be without the right words. And, so that’s why this letter is here. So that when the time came to share all the many magical details about Christmas, I’d have this letter to pull out and read with you. My heart. Ready to share.

The most important thing for me to say is that you already know the beautiful truth of Christmas. You’ve always known. Long ago a baby came to be the savior of this lost world. My savior. Your savior. This is the most important truth of our lives. The magic of Christmas. This is why we have Christmas. You don’t have to work for it or earn it. The miracle is always that God is gracious. You always get your Christmas miracle. You get God with you. Always.

But, you want to know all the rest. And, the rest we’ve made more complicated, somehow. But, maybe it doesn’t have to be …

You should know that I’ve always believed in the magic of Christmas. I’ve always believed in the magic of Santa. It’s been a cherished part of my life. It’s held the sweetest kind of memories. That magic creates something wonderful inside of your heart.

You should also know that Daddy and I are not Santa. I’m not sure that there is just one Santa. There was a real person named St. Nichols that lived a long time ago. He became something of a legend and through him the history of Father Christmas and eventually Santa Claus evolved. He was known for his kindness and his spirit of giving. For helping the poor. For giving to children. I’m sure God placed this desire to give in his heart. I’m sure God has allowed these fun traditions to grow and continue because they do teach us all about the spirit of giving and of helping. Of believing in something that we can’t see, can’t touch. We all need to be able to believe. In God first and foremost. But, also in your family, in your friends and in yourself.

So, Santa now lives in the hearts of lots of people (including mine and Daddy’s) who want to continue to keep the magic of Christmas and the spirit of giving alive for others. He may not be the one who leaves you gifts or fills your stocking. Daddy and I do that, just like our parents did and their parents did. Just as I pray you will have the honor and joy to do for your own children one day. Because it is a great JOY! It’s been a blessing. A beautiful blessing. Creating magic for you created magic for me. It’s a choice. Each season I choose to believe. To feel it. To lean in to the things I love most about this time of year. To make the magic happen. To allow the magic to happen. To let the wonder of it lift my soul. 

And, though I’m sharing these truths with you now, I hope you’ll find that it doesn’t diminish the magic for you. Perhaps this knowledge will bring a layer of melancholy you may have never felt about Christmas before, but allow it in. Joy is often twinged with a tiny bit of sadness or nostalgia. Feelings are deep and wide and almost never mutually exclusive. Sit with it. Feel it. Notice where the magic lives. It will evolve and change and it won’t ever be quite like those wonderful, early childhood years … but some years later, when you are making magic for your very own little ones … that feeling will be back and better than ever. Nothing beats being a magic maker and sharing in the awe and delight of a child you love with your whole heart.

So, yes, my love, Santa is very much real. Never forget. And, let’s continue to make magic together, forever and ever.

Your Magic-Maker, Your Momma

One Comment

  • Amy Plaster says:

    So, so sweet Lori! Lainee was about twelve when Christmas started lacking her excitement and like you, I knew that she knew. But she never asked. Brad thought she continued to “believe” because she thought that I still believed (like Brad made all that magic happen on his own, HECK NO!). 😍 It came out just last year, at 14, that she knows. Even though I knew, I cried. It broke my heart that the Christmas magic was gone. This Christmas has definitely been different but we are making new “big kid” traditions and the sadness is a little duller than it was last year. I am encouraging her to find ways to be Santa on her own and spreading Christmas magic.
    Enjoy your last few years of that Christmas magic!

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