Sunday, November 17, 2013

An Open Letter to Holden (10 years old, or whenever you learn about Santa)

Dear Holden,

Today was the day, November 18, 2013. Today is the day I decided it was officially ok to lie to you; and I'm sorry about that. I've prided myself in being truthful with you -- and had planned to continue on that path, but I saw a look of hopelessness in your eyes and I didn't want today, at the tender age of 4 to be the day a little of the magic died. 

For your entire life I've been referring to Ole Kris Kringle as "the spirit of Santa." That way, I figured, you could believe in Santa and I would help you understand that "Santa's real helpers" are all over the planet -- parents, friends and whatever else you imagine (I imagine you imagine elves). 

So today we had a conversation about the Jolly Ol' Elf, and I used the phrase "The Spirit of Santa." 

"What's the Spirit of Santa?" You asked. 

"Well, remember how we talked about how Santa has helpers all over the world? How moms and Dads help and..." 

This is where the conversation gets a little hazy to me, because at some point I mentioned: "Well Santa lived like hundred of years ago." 

The color drained from your face: "You mean Santa's not alive?" 

And that was the crossroads. That was the moment I realized that in my effort to protect you from the sadness of learning that a fat man doesn't slide down the chimney and ride around with reindeer once a year, that I would be stealing some of the magic childhood affords. And there's only a certain window that magic lives and thrives. 

So I said, "Well yes, but he'd be like 1000 years old." Apparently I was getting St. Nick and Methuselah mixed up (Old Testament does that to me -- most of the stories seem allegorical to me there too.)  

I reminded you about how Mom and Dad are his helpers and you seemed content. 

So 10 year old Holden, or however old you are when you read this, here's the truth I want you to understand. 

Santa and his magic are real...he may not have a special sleigh powered by reindeer of deliver gifts sliding down chimneys each year, but rest assured he is real. 

And he does have little helpers... Whether or not they're elves I can't speak to categorically. I know that I feel honored to be one of his helpers, and your Dad does too. I know that my parents spent ridiculous amounts of time being helpers when I was a kid... For me and for other kids who were less fortunate so that they too could feel the magic of Christmas. 

My answer today and my decision to let you believe in Santa (whatever your interpretation) seems a little bit like how I see my relationship with God -- it's a lot different from when I was a kid, but I know He's there, working miracles. And how does He do it? Through His helpers... 

So forgive me Holden, if you feel as if you've been lied to. That is not my intention. Indeed Santa exists, though if the construct you have created does not completely mimic what you come to see as truth, do not let that destroy the magic for you... Let it be a vessel for you to help become the magic.