Of course Santa is real!
“But Grammy! I am too old to go see Santa Clause. What if someone from school sees me? I’d die of embarrassment! I’d never hear the end of it; they’d call me a baby!”
“Cara, darling. You are only ten. Surely ten isn’t too ancient to be able to get a picture with Santa. For me? Please, sweetheart?”
Cara huffed. Then she pouted. Her lower lip quivered and she actually squeezed out a tear. “Please don’t make me, Grammy.”
My mother sighed. “I won’t make you, but it would make me happy if you did. You could always tell your friends you were doing it to make your grandmother happy, you know.”
“Cara,” I said in a voice that accompanied my best ‘Mom-glare,’ “since when didn’t you believe in Santa? This is news to me!”
“Mo-ther! Just because you saw Santa Clause doesn’t make him real. It isn’t like he’s the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit! He’s just a story made up to make kids be good.”
“Like you are not being?” I asked.
“I just don’t want to have anyone think of me as a baby! I’m ten!”
“Doing something nice for Grammy is not being a baby. Pouting, however, is,” I said firmly.
I couldn’t blame my mother for wanting just one more picture of my youngest with Santa Clause. I did too.
Later that evening, just before bed on the night before we were to go shopping at the mall and see the source of my youngest’s sour mood, I asked her again about going to see Santa.
“You know it would mean a lot to your grandmother,” I started.
Cara looked up at me, her blue-grey eyes serious. “Mom, do you truly believe in Santa Clause?”
“I do, sweetheart, you know that.”
“But is he really a jolly old man who brings presents?”
“He can be. I remember when your grandfather and I had this conversation when I was your age.”
“Bob-bob? I barely remember him.”
“I know, you were only three or four when he passed away. But Bob-bob told me that when folks stopped believing in Santa or even, the idea of Santa, that they stopped getting gifts. Any gifts. Ever. Didn't matter if it was a Christmas gift or a funny surprise or finding the first daffodil, that the sheer magic of the moment would be lessened. They might get presents, but they wouldn't get gifts.
“Gifts you see, are very, very special, magical even. Sometimes it might be a favorite book or that first snowfall when the flakes are soft and fluffy. It could be seeing a deer in the woods.They would lose a bit of the magic in their lives forever.”
“Is that why we have Christmas Magic every Christmas morning?” she asked.
“Yes, it is.”
“Yes,” I said, pushing a wayward blond curl behind her ear.
“I guess I can have my picture taken with Santa. It will make Grammy happy.”
“I hope it will make you happy, too,” I smiled.
The mall was a chaotic swirl of excited kids, harried-looking moms, dancing Christmas lights, singing carolers and people everywhere! The line leading to Santa’s candy-cane striped chair was actually shorter than I would have thought.
Cara looked adorable in a red plaid jumper and green tights. There were kids in line easily as old as she was and I pointed out a teenager who was in line by herself.
“See?” I chin-pointed at the girl. “She’s even older than you are.”
Cara looked doubtful, but then, suddenly she smiled.
Her turn came and she almost danced over to Santa. He looked at her, peering over half-glasses and stroking a beard that had to be real.
“And what would you like for Christmas this year, young lady?” he asked.
She leaned over and whispered in his ear, using her hands to be sure no one could see what she said.
Santa looked puzzled for a moment, but then smiled, laughed out a “Ho, ho ho!” The picture was snapped and then with a quick hug Santa sent her back to us. Mom and Cara went off towards the food court and I ducked into the bookstore.
I already had several books in my arms when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned, and there was Santa Clause!
“Do you know what ‘purple Christmas magic is? I really hope you do.”
“Yes,” I replied.
Santa let out a breath of relief.
I explained to him that every year we had ‘Christmas Magic’ sprinkled over the presents, in the stockings and a trail from the Christmas cookies and milk to the tree. I told him that the Christmas magic was metallic confetti in different shapes; candy canes, trees, gold or silver stars. “But, we’ve never had ‘purple Christmas magic before. I’d planned on silver stars this year.”
“You daughter said she wanted Purple Christmas magic. She said if I were ‘real’ then I would use it this year. It was all she asked for. She told me she hadn’t said a word to anyone. I had to find you and I am so very glad you knew what I was talking about!”
I promised Santa that I would take care of it … for him. He smiled a dazzling smile and headed back to the line of children.
Christmas morning I was jolted awake by the loudest ten-year-old scream that has ever been screeched.
“MOM!!! It’s purple! It’s really purple! He’s real … Santa is really and for truly REAL!” Cara landed on my bed tossing handfuls of purple confetti all over the bed. Her eyes were wide as could be.
“Mom. There’s purple Christmas magic by the plate that had his cookies in it and it goes all the way through the entire house all the way to the tree! It is sprinkled all over the presents. It’s everywhere.”
I managed to look puzzled. “Purple?”
“Yes. There are purple trees and silver stars.”
“Purple?” I repeated.
“Mom, when we saw Santa, I asked him for purple Christmas magic this year. I never told anyone else. That way I knew if we had purple magic that Santa was real! And we do. And he is!”
At this point my daughter promptly burst into tears.
“He really is real,” she sniffed.
I took her hand, slid my feet into my slippers and said, “Well, let’s go downstairs and you can show me.”
Pulling me down the stairs, she showed me all the places where the purple confetti glittered. “And look! He even left me a note! Even Kelly and Rob said the handwriting wasn’t yours. Can I read it to you?”
Her brother and sister were leaning against the counter in the kitchen. “It isn’t Mom’s handwriting,” confirmed Kelly.
“Read the letter, Cara,” said Rob. He looked slightly confused himself.
“Dear Cara,” she read in a piping voice. “I hope you enjoy your extra helping of magic this year. Purple magic is very rare, but then so are you. I know you’ve been good and I expect you to continue to behave like that. Remember, Christmas is all about love and joy. Never lose that. Keep the magic of Christmas in your heart forever! Love, Santa”
She folded the letter up carefully and told me she was going to keep it forever. Then she and her brother and sister went to open presents. All three of them squealed upon finding the magic in each gift from Santa. Truly an unforgettable Christmas!
Christmas magic still makes an appearance at our house each and every year--even though the kids are grown and there are grandchildren older than Cara was when this story happened. Because it did. And it's real. As is Santa.