Santa, are you there?

The holiday season is upon us & we are faced with the Santa question. Does he or doesn’t he exist? Or rather, will MFA Dad & I pretend Santa exists?

I have very fond memories of my stint as a Santa believer & my memories have very little to do with receiving gifts (though I cannot deny that I was spoiled rotten at Christmas).

No, I remember sitting up late with my little brother, quietly staring out of his or my bedroom window, eyes glued to the sky. There was magic in the air, the thought of a man dressed in red zooming all over the earth in one night. I remember waking early & rousing my brother & just staring together at the still-lit tree in the early morning.

Later, after I became a non-believer, I remember basking in my little brother’s belief. Sitting up with him in his room, pretending to be looking for Santa. Knowing he’d be the one to wake me up in the morning.

Or there are the memories of my dear bachelor uncle who donned a Santa costume to pay a visit to my grandparents’ house on Christmas eve. He rang bells outside & told us the sleigh was on the roof. We believed him.

So you can hardly blame us for deciding to tell T about Santa. In a world in which there seems to be so little magic in childhood, we chose to indulge this traditional fantasy.

T was thrilled, of course. To paraphrase T’s retelling: “Santa is a real nice man & he’s gonna bring me toys at Christmas time!” And after seeing a bear dressed as Santa in a book, he now calls all Santas “Santa Bear,” which is awfully cute.

One problem is that according to T apparently Santa’s only going to stop at our house! Not even going to visit his beloved cousins’ house! And the list of toys Santa is going to bring is long & growing. (It doesn’t help that in every depiction, Santa is bringing loads of toys to a single home… It just doesn’t make sense to T that Santa would carry all those toys in & just leave one for each child…)

The challenge now is to temper this newly-discovered bringer of toys with the spirit of giving & simplicity. Santa will probably only bring one gift & mom & dad won’t give any. We’ll also “help” Santa by donating a few genltly-used toys & maybe buy a new toy to give to a charity.

I haven’t quite concocted the story but it goes something like this: Santa can’t visit all the children (Only the houses that are decorated & lit? Only the houses that leave out cookies & milk? …) but we can help make sure they all get a toy.

So… Ideas on charities for donating new or used toys? I can already think of Toys For Tots. Others?

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