Note: I wrote this short essay some years back as a school assignment inspired by NPR’s “This I Believe” program. I think it’s an appropriate time of year to retrieve from the annals and share with you all. A few minor edits have been made. 😉🎅🏻
I believe in Santa Claus. It might seem strange that a 21-year-old college student claims to believe in Santa Claus, but why shouldn’t I? From “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” to “Miracle on 34th Street,” there has been story after story that reaffirms faith in the jolly resident of the North Pole and in all he represents, and I have always eaten these stories up like Santa eats the milk and cookies left out for him on Christmas Eve.
Growing up, it was part of my family’s ritual at Christmas time to go visit “Legendary Santa” in a city not far from us. My parents would dress up my brother and me, and we’d go wait in line, sometimes for hours on end, to get our chance to sit on Santa’s lap, have our picture taken, and make our requests known to this magical gift-giver. This was a momentous occasion, and we were always practically shaking with fright and excitement. In fact, I was so terrified that it wasn’t until I was five years old that I would even sit on Santa’s knee. Every year prior, except when I was a baby and didn’t know any better, the picture with Santa invariably has me latched on for dear life to my Mother, head turned away from my brother and Santa Claus. Nevertheless, I still loved Santa!
Come Christmas Eve, (even after Santa and I were on speaking terms), I could hardly sleep; I would lie in bed barely daring to move or breathe, my head nearly completely covered by my blankets. However, without fail, Christmas morning would ring with shouts of “He came!” and “Thank you, Santa!”
One year I was totally flabbergasted because under the tree was a doll for which I had secretly been wishing; I hadn’t even told my parents, but somehow, Santa knew. Another year, a doll of my Mom’s, which she had handed down to me and which needed some repairs, mysteriously went missing from my room, a candy cane left in its place. Sure enough, on Christmas morning, there was the doll beautifully restored under the Christmas tree. Christmas magic indeed!
Now I’m not saying I literally believe there is a man who lives at the North Pole and delivers presents on Christmas Eve, but I’m also not saying I don’t believe. After all, the legacy of Santa Claus began with an historical man, St. Nicholas, a bishop who legend says helped a needy father pay for his three daughters’ weddings. Moreover, Christmas is a time when I celebrate Christ’s birth. It is remembered as a time of miracles and of love.
I believe this is what Santa Claus represents. He is a reminder that there is still mystery and wonder and innocence in the world, and that love, joy, and generosity are timeless. So yes, I am twenty-one, and I believe in Santa Claus, and I plan to keep believing in him throughout my life because his spirit and what he stands for is undoubtedly good and worthy of belief.