Growing up, there was never any doubt that Santa existed. It helped, I suppose, that I spent those early childhood years in Germany, where Nikolaustag was celebrated on December 6 each year. My parents were quick to equate St. Nicholas and Santa Claus (as they should – they are the same person), and thus saved me a great deal of trauma in finding out the “truth.”
Of course people believed in Santa!, child-me thought. I figured all the hoopla in America was just in honor of him. I was about eight when I realized the truth: many children believed in an actual human being (elf?) who lived at the North Pole, had flying reindeer, and delivered presents every Christmas.
Being a highly rational creature, I decided the best thing to do was to make up for lost time. I went into a sort of denial-based belief, and literally CHOSE to believe Santa was real. After all, I had lost a valuable eight years of not putting cookies and milk out for Santa!
This only lasted a year or two. After all, I knew the truth. Now, I’m a married adult and looking to eventually in the future have children…And I’m faced with this dilemma: what do I tell my kids?
It’s a hot button issue in our culture, and things can get personal quickly. But I think if we looked at the actual person of St. Nicholas – whom Santa Claus is derived from – we might just feel a little better about the concept of “Santa” (which just means “Saint,” anyway).