Santa Claus will always exist as long as someone believes that giving is more rewarding than receiving.
“He still believes in Santa Claus,” said the older sibling looking at me as if I were an ally.
Situations like this always made me uncomfortable. Maybe it was because the older siblings were consciously participating in a lie or because I felt guilty knowing that the older siblings had once been believers.
I never feel comfortable lying to my sons, even about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
Last week, my 4 year old asked me if the Santas in the mall and at his school were fake. I told him that they all had the spirit of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is like a ghost who comes down and goes into the bodies of the men in the mall who dress as Santa.
“Does the spirit go inside me too, Daddy?” he asked with a shaky voice.
“Of course, remember when you gave the card to your teacher on the last day of pre-school before winter break?”
“Yes,” Fox answered with a smile.
“Did you feel happiness and joy while giving to your teacher?”
“Yes,” he said with raised eyebrows.
“That is the spirit of Christmas inside your body. The spirit of Santa Claus never dies as long as you give with joy and happiness.”
I never want my sons to stop believing in the spirit of Santa Claus. The story of Santa Claus is a powerful one: A man who lives his whole life giving to others with no expectations of returns. Santa Claus is a true servant of the greater good.
I don’t want my sons to think men like this are a fiction. I want them to know in their hearts that they can be this kind of man.
So we talk about the spirit of Christmas. There may be many embodiments of Santa Claus scattered across the shopping malls in the past, present, and future, but the spirit of Christmas remains the same–the intention to give before receiving, to be thankful, and to be joyful even in times of hardship.
I plan to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol with my sons when they are old enough, explaining to them how these films embody the spirit of Christmas. I plan to link the story of Jesus with the spirit of Christmas—how Jesus gave everything for the greater good.
I never want my sons to stop believing in Santa Claus. I want them to feel the Christmas spirit come into their bodies and inspire them to give selflessly. At some point, I will probably tell them that my wife and I were the ones who bought them the gifts that say “From Santa,” but I will let them know that we were inspired by the spirit of Santa Claus. Santa Claus will always exist as long as someone believes that giving is more rewarding than receiving.
Photo: flickr—Steve Rhodes