It’s a cold day at the North Pole when we stop believing in Santa Claus.
Santa symbolizes the warm, cozy spirit of the season’s generosity. He is the magical man with big hugs and an even bigger toy sack. He’s our early white knight in shining armor, the one who secrets us away from the worldly woes to a place we can sit around all day eating bonbons.
We later yen to marry such a person, especially since it would mean we could quit our day job.
When we learn Santa is merely a myth, a piece of our innocence dies.
My revelation came around age 10, when I noted the handwriting on Santa’s thank you for the cookies note was suspiciously similar to my dad’s. My cousin confirmed my suspicions by later admitting his Santa wrote like my aunt.
If my cousin said it, it had to be true. He was always the crafty one who knew where grandpa kept the beer and where his mom hid her cigarettes.
Although my cousin and I got over the Santa blow fairly quickly — we were fine as long as we still got our gifts — some kids don’t take it as smoothly.
Some react with rage, Psych Central warns, livid that Mom and Dad lied to them all those years. Others become crushed and weepy. Some run to the playground to share the news, often getting beat up by kids who still want to believe.
Still others express relief. “They needed to have their perceptions of reality confirmed,” Psych Central says.
Those kids are probably pretty boring.
Confirming reality is nothing we need to rush. It’ll confirm itself on its own in a really big way with really big bills and even bigger headaches.
Santa lets us linger in a fantasy world, one where magic and goodness still freely exist. This is provided, of course, we stick with the cheery version of St. Nick and not some of the scary Santas of late.
A large man in a Santa suit robbed a Rhode Island yacht club at gunpoint last week.
A disgruntled ex-husband dressed as Santa turned Christmas Eve into a massacre back in 2008. He opened fire with four handguns at a party packed with 25 guests at his ex-wife’s parents’ house. Nine lie dead before he turned one of the guns on himself.
Told you reality will gladly come crashing down on its own.
The magic of Santa, therefore, becomes even more important. We need to escape the harsh meanness of the world that’s filled with things like murder.
We would all definitely be better off if we fell back into the Santa groove, fostering the fantasy if just for a season. If just for a day, or an hour. How about for the five minutes it takes to open the gifts?
Even those who bah-humbug Santa might enjoy the brief respite from reality.
At the very least, we can imagine Santa jollily coming to our rescue by paying off all those hefty holiday credit card bills.
Ryn Gargulinski, aka Rynski, is a writer, artist, performer and poet. Her radio show airs every Wednesday and her column appears every Friday. See more writing and art from RYNdustries at ryngargulinski.com and rynski.etsy.com.
What do you think?
When did you give up on Santa? Or do you still believe?