Is Santa Real? My Answer To That Age Old Question
Santa Is Praising the Real Reason For the Season
How Do You Answer That Question?
“Is Santa real?” An age old question, and one I hear often around this time of year. Since I teach children in kindergarten and second grade I have heard this question several times a day. I am careful about how I answer. I usually end up telling this story at least once during the Christmas season.
When my girls were little my now ex-husband didn’t work. I was running a day care from our home and going to college to become a teacher. The day care wasn’t going well – I had only three children in my care. I had to do day care during second shift since my ex didn’t want to be awakened by “noisy brats” during the day. He couldn’t sleep all day if I was watching kids!
Because of all of this, money was very tight that year. As Christmas got closer, it was looking less and less likely that my girls – 7 and 4 at the time – would have a good Christmas. Even so, I sat with them and helped them write their letters to Santa, all the while reminding them that the REAL reason for Christmas was to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. I tried to help them understand that presents weren’t that important and that just the fact that we had a warm home and all of our family around was the best present we could have.
I also prayed about our situation. I prayed that my children would have a warm meal for Christmas, even if it were just hamburgers or hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. I prayed that we would find the money to pay the utility bills and the mortgage payment. I prayed that my children would be healthy and happy through the Christmas season. And I thanked God for all the blessings we did have, including healthy children and a warm home.
As Christmas got closer, my oldest daughter asked me that question that I dreaded, “Is Santa Claus real?” She was (and still is) a very bright girl. I did not want to mislead her, and did not want to take away any of the magic of Santa. So I asked her, “What do you think?”
She told me that she thought that, at one time, Santa was real. She had heard the story of St. Nicholas and how he had given gifts to children. She then said that she thought Santa was more the spirit of Christmas and that she wasn’t sure if he really brought gifts to children all the children around the world. I told her that she had some wonderful ideas about Santa, but didn’t say whether he was “real” or not.
The next day was exactly one week before Christmas. I went out to the mailbox to check the mail, excited to see if there were any Christmas cards. I was lucky, there were two. The first had the return address of my mother. The second had no return address.
Bewildered, I took the cards into the house to open the cards. My mom’s card was a cute one with two little elf girls skating on a pond. My mom had written the names of my girls on top of each of the elves. It was very cute, but my curiosity got to me and I tossed it aside to see who the other card was from. I figured whoever had sent it would have surely signed it.
As I started to open it, the girls came into the living room. They wanted to see the cards and were excited to be able to put the card on the artificial tree we had in front of the picture window. They saw the look of confusion on my face and eagerly watched me open the second card.
When I opened the envelope, I saw a picture of Santa on the front of the card. It was a very real looking picture of the jolly old elf. The outside of the card said simply “Believe.” On the inside was another smaller sealed envelope that said “Open when the children are not around” The card had a Bible verse written on the inside. It said “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” and it was signed – in really fancy handwriting – “Santa.”
I read the card to the girls. They were pretty excited that they had a card from Santa! So was I, to tell you the truth!
Later, after the girls had gone to bed, I took out the smaller envelope from where I had hidden it away. Inside was a gift card to a local grocery store. There was a note saying that there was enough money on the card to buy a very nice Christmas dinner. There was also a gift card to a local toy store, with a note instructing me to buy the girls all of the toys they wanted most. Both notes were signed by “Santa.”
That weekend I went on a shopping spree. I bought the girls their gifts and bought all the fixings for Christmas dinner. As I shopped, I kept trying to figure out who had sent the card. There was no one that we knew that could afford to send such a wonderful gift.
On Christmas morning, I went into the living room before the girls were awake. I wanted to make sure everything was just right for our traditional family picture in front of the tree and gifts. I was shocked to see under the tree toys that I had not bought with the gift cards. There were dolls and a pretend kitchen set that the girls had wanted, but that I had not bought because they were too expensive. There were also stocking that were filled to the brim. I stood staring, wondering where these fabulous gifts had come from.
From behind me, I heard my girls coming down the hall. I managed to get my camera out just in time to get pictures of the shocked looks on their faces. They were so excited!
I never did find out who the card or the extra presents came from, or how the gifts got into the house without any of us knowing about it.
But whenever a student asks me “Is Santa Real?” I tell them this story…