Why is Santa Claus an important tradition?
|I remember happy Christmases. The confidence of knowing that the man in the mall wasn't really Santa, but knowing when you sat on his lap and told him what you wanted for Christmas that he'd pass it on to the real guy. I remember the care that went into baking and frosting those sugar cookies, eating them and leaving some out for Santa with a glass of milk and some carrots. I remember the excitement that made it hard to sleep when this was the one night sleeping felt necessary. I remember the joy and magic of waking up and finding the presents that weren't there the night before under the tree and in the stockings. I remember all those feelings on Christmas.
I remember when it all changed. I remember the ache in my throat when my Mother told me Santa wasn't real. I remember the tears that streamed down my face when she said she was worried I would get picked on if I kept on believing. I remember the clenching feeling in my heart when it felt like someone I knew had died, when in reality they'd just never existed. I remember the magic was lost from Christmas.
I remember the Christmases after that. I remember at first it was okay because my younger siblings didn't know so presents would still appear under the tree, I was just in on the secret. I remember my parents losing enthusiasm for the game and telling my siblings about Santa. I remember their reactions weren't nearly as bad as mine. I remember when presents stopped appearing under the tree in the morning. I remember waking up one Christmas dreading walking into the living room because a part of me still hoped that presents that weren't there the night before would be waiting, a hope that my parents had taken the time to keep a little magic in Christmas, even though I knew better. I remember the moment when I walked in and those vain hopes died away, replaced with a heaviness. I remember having to force a smile with each present I opened. I remember each subsequent Christmas being the same way, with the same vain hopes and the same hollow feeling that something was missing.
Each Christmas it didn't matter what gifts I got. What mattered to me was how they were given. When a parent takes the time to wake up and place gifts under a tree so their child can have a surprise and experience the joys of that moment, there is an irreplaceable love in that act. Love is like a magic in itself, and that magic was left there, making the Christmas more than just about what you got from a box in fancy paper. Even the loss of Santa would not be so unbearable if it didn't symbolize the parent's loss of interest in creating magic for their child once a year.
It's been seven years since my Mother told me that one horrible summer day. Maybe it's because I miss the magic. Maybe it's because I long for the old joys. Maybe it's because I'm still a child at heart. Whatever the reason, I'm almost eighteen years old and I miss Santa Claus.