The Power of Imagination

Like a traditional Christmas decoration, the question of whether Santa Claus real comes out every year.  For the last couple of years, my Grandson Charlie who is now 9 has been curious.  Obviously, he hears other kids at school, stating they know the truth or speculating.  So his mum has had to deal with the question.  Is Santa Claus real? Finally this year the penny has dropped and he knows there is no Santa Claus.  But I think that isn’t correct.  I believe we have a choice to make and that is wrapped up with the power of imagination.

Santa Claus is real

With Christmas fast approaching, many small children across the world will be waiting with excitement and anticipation for the visit from the white-bearded legend.  The man in the big red suit fills his sack:  Swings it brimming with presents up onto the sleigh:  Revs up the reindeer and travels all around the world delivering presents in the late hours of Christmas Eve/early hours of Christmas Day.

I remember being a small child looking out of my bedroom window on Christmas Eve. Watching the stars twinkling, wondering which one was the star of Bethlehem. I waited with anticipation, hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa. Through the dark sky, I watched intently to see the silhouette of the reindeer and the sleigh whizzing through the sky.  Although I never did see them, I distinctly remember hearing the bells jingling.  Such is the power of imagination.

There is no Santa

Fast forward about two or three years; my schoolmates would declare, “There is no Santa”, backing up their claims with the information that their parents had told them so.  I didn’t believe them.  I loved Santa.  Adamantly, I loved Christmas.

I remained committed to my belief until one Christmas Eve when the terrible truth dawned.  I heard my parents rustling paper, wrapping presents and talking in hushed tones about where the presents should be placed under the tree.  In a flash, my Christmas world was never to be the same.  I realised the truth.  Santa did not fly through the sky delivering presents.

Young as I was, I didn’t feel mad at my parents.  I just felt disillusioned.  Forgetting all about the magic of Santa, I simply saw the man in the big red suit as a symbol of my disappointment.  I dismissed Santa as a fairy tale for little children who didn’t know any better.   As I got older, I increasingly saw Santa as a symbol of the commercialism of Christmas.

Everything changed when my children were born

That was of course until my children were born.  I didn’t want to lie to them.  Equally, I didn’t want to deprive them that magic of “I believe”.   I pondered upon how I should play the whole Santa business.  Then I realised the real truth.  Santa Claus is real……

I told them Santa would deliver the presents.   Some of the presents were even signed by Santa Claus.  I went the whole hog and told them about the Naughty and Nice list!  They bought it all.  They had magical Christmases where they got so excited and happy, I could have cried at the sheer joy and pleasure it gave them.

When they were old enough to understand, I explained to them that although Santa was not a physical man in a big red suit, squeezing himself down chimneys or somehow breaking in (our house didn’t even have a chimney), he was alive and well, in spirit.

I told them about St Nicholas, and how Santa got his name.  I told them about the kindheartedness of St Nicholas about how he wanted, secretly, to give gifts to children and that to this day, it is this spirit that is still alive.  Parents around the world adopt the spirit of Santa Claus and love giving to their children.

The spirit of Santa Claus is loved around the world

That is because it is a time when If we are lucky we

  • Connect with people we love and focus on them
  • Think about what pleasure we can bring to people by giving
  • Wish goodwill to all men
  • Party!

A few years ago, I read a biography of Nigella Lawson.  “The Domestic Goddess”.  The author knew Nigella well and often visited her house.   I can’t remember much detail about her life story, but one thing that resonated vividly was when the author observed: “in Nigella’s house, it was like Christmas every day”.

I remember thinking that I would love that to be my epitaph.  Yet it isn’t impossible, difficult yes, although to remain in such a state can be learned.  When it gets down to it, whether you believe in Santa or not, it’s all a state of mind.  I choose to believe.  What about you?

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