• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, December 17, 2011


News of Santa is spreading like an out of control prairie fire.

Real Santas!!

Surely you believe -
you aren't one of those that doubt - are you?

Just in case you heard rumors that Santa is a fake, only a fictional character, or other shameful fabrications and even outright lies regarding him, let me set the record straight: He IS real!

The story below is true.
This is my 'Letter to the Editor'.
And THE truth as a story.

Letter to the Editor:

Like Virginia O’Hanlon of 1897, when she brought her father the concerns and doubts of her peers, my little girl also came to me,
a parent, with the assertions of her peers;
their larger than life doubts.

about age 5

Ginger did not know how to read or write. In 1977 she was barely 5 years old. She was not yet old enough to understand that journalists and media may possess the magic ability to pronounce realities and validate truth.  To her a parent’s word was final and authoritative.

Some of her playmates clearly possessed the knowing bitter air of adult skeptics that haven’t known many of life’s higher beauties and joys.

The letter Mr. Church, of The New York Sun, wrote to Virginia coupled with the examples and teachings of my own loving parents  provided impetus to me as a young mother to form an honest answer for myself, Ginger and anyone else who questioned Santa’s authenticity.

She came in from play upset and frustrated … or maybe it was downright anger (when we named the placid baby Ginger, we did not yet know what a peppy little personality she had).

When she stamped into my kitchen that day I was already prepared - Virginia’s questioning search, at age 8, and the detailed answer given by Mr. Church coupled with the wisdom of Virginia’s parents gave truth to a dimension of life that even then was slowly diminishing.

As the years cycle on perhaps it is some of Virginia’s embittered and skeptical peers, (and those misled and duped by them) with their fallibilities laid seasonally bare, that have shamelessly passed cynicism to ever younger and less capable shoulders.  Did they not have a Santa? Can they not feel love? Has no one ever done a kind turn for them? No smiles? No opened doors? No gentle human courtesies?

To them I suggest - If you have not found them given, even sparingly, please do not begrudge them to anyone else … especially children. Perhaps you can give, to yourself at least, the belief of something more than that lack as a reality …

Come on …
It can start with you!
Just try a simple kindness. 
You will feel wonderful. 
You might just become …

SHHHHhhh, it’s a secret … SANTA


Ginger came stamping into Mama’s kitchen, lower lip protruding in quivering outrage, her tiny arms akimbo with fists on her hips. “Mama – Cory said you are Santa Claus! He is wrong – huh? Mom? Santa is true! He is!” Several more children, both older and younger, trailed behind Ginger, age 5.

Their wishful eyes all fixed upon Mama, carefully, with the scrutiny that every child gives gifts on birthdays and at Christmas.

Ginger said Santa was really true. These children knew Ginger. She did not like lies. She did not like fibs. These children knew Mama.  She did not like fibs and lies even more. They knew Mama told them truth. Every child would know (in the quiet childlike way children always do) if Mama dared to speak a lie or even a tiny, tiny fib.

Mama smiled a big smile. Mama smiled her biggest smile. She knew the truth.

“Ginger, who loves you?” she asked.

“Cory, who loves you?” she questioned.

She called each child by name, “Tazmin, who loves you? Trevor, who loves you?
… And you, Elissa?  And Kati? … Tad?  Shawn? Tina? 

And you?

Their answers came like a swarm of hungry mosquitoes.
Everyone wanted to tell Mama about someone they knew that was kind and loving.

 “Me (giggle).”
“Papa-pa and’Dama.” 

Auntie, The Postman, Nanny, the doctor, the lady helping at the library, the bus driver, the neighbor next door, Cousin Kim …the list became so long they almost forgot the question – ‘Who loves you?’

“SANTA DOES!” Ginger shouted above the commotion. Mama was proud of Ginger. Ginger knew. By the sudden, sharp intake of breath Mama knew they HAD almost forgotten the question.

Or maybe they all thought she had. 
Now she truly MUST answer. 

In her most quiet voice she asked another question,
 “Ginger – WHO is Santa?”

Ginger stifled a nervous giggle, almost afraid to answer - like every child at centre stage might … “Oh Mama, you know.”

“Did you tell them Ginger?  You know the truth,” Mama coached. The lip went back out, then quivered.  Mama winked at Ginger.

“Santa is …” Mama paused at their expectant hush. They waited in gulping anticipation of finally have THE secret actually told to them. 

They knew Mama would tell.
They all knew – Mama always told.

 She told them all the important secrets they needed to know: how to tickle puppy ears, where to find the juicy berries, how to get kitty to purr, where the spring wild flowers grew, how to make snowballs and build snowmen and lots of stuff. And Mama always told the truth. She always answered honestly.

“Santa is …” Mama repeated 
but paused once more for effect. 

She enjoyed knowing such a special secret. 

“Should I really tell you?” Mama teased. 

Solemn nods clinched it. 

“Santa is somebody who loves you,” she finished, 
“somebody who is kind to you.”

“But who is he? – really? they begged.

“Who loves you?” Mama asked. 
“Who is kind to you?” 

Not quite satisfied or fully understanding they tried again.
“Who loves you?” she persisted. “Who is kind to you?”

Eight year old Thomas, eye to eye with Mama,
asked one more time, “who is Santa?”

Mama said, 
“I have a more important question to ask you,”


[ illustration shows Ginger and an older friend playing pixie –
‘Santa’ on the tag of a gift – perhaps older neighbor peeking through the curtains.]