When Macadamia and Pecan were little, come Christmas, Santa Claus and the magic of Santa used to be a festival in itself. The excitement, the anticipation of the very idea of Santa Claus paying them a visit, was a treat to watch. However, as they grew, that aura around Santa was visibly fading, it was increasingly being replaced by raised eyebrows and a “seriously ??” that was tinted with skepticism.
A few years back, some talk came up about the festive season and about Santa Claus and his elves being busy and Pecan exclaimed “We know Santa Claus doesn’t exist !!!”. I looked at Macadamia, only to find her shooting looks in my direction – looks that seemed to speak loud and clear in saying “Exactly how old do you think we are ??” “Santa !!!” “Good Lord !!” She did not say it out aloud but “the look” said it all.
This Santa issue is indeed a big one. In fact, there are debates as to whether parents should even introduce the concept of Santa to their kids. Some parents nod in the affirmative while others insist that a negative answer to this question makes more sense. “Don’t lie to your kids !” state some websites, which encourage parents to tell kids (no matter how young they are) that Santa is nothing but an illusion. One website I looked at actually called Santa a “Hogwash”.
I don’t know if it is me or if it is the child in me (yeah – there definitely exists a child in each and every one of us – deep down inside our hearts – no matter how old we grow !) but it seems infinitely sad that there seems to be no room for that childish hope for a ray of magic (albeit an illusion) in this fast paced world of today.
I don’t remember ever bringing up conversations about Santa during my childhood. Not that I didn’t know about Santa but simply because ours was a conservative family which did not even think of celebrating festivals other than Diwali, Vishu or Onam and the like. Christmas and the celebrations thereof, were a far cry. So yeah, I did read about the jolly old man with a long white beard who embodied the concept of giving and spreading joy but never once did I bring up the topic – for, it would have lead me nowhere.
But think – honestly – does the air not change around this time of the year ? Things do get and feel more festive. There is more than just a nip in the air – there is a distinct feel of something upbeat. And that big jolly old man in a red suit with a long white beard is in the centre of it all. Even if Santa is just an illusion – for me, he embodies something deeper. He embodies the very spirit of “giving”, of “sharing joy”. I may sound extremely childish in saying this but yes – “Santa is magical”.
When compared to our childhood days, when I look at kids now – and I’m talking in general here – not just Macadamia and Pecan, it does seem as though kids nowadays are getting sophisticated way too early in their thoughts. I mean, look at this generation of kids – all Kindled, IPODed, PSPed NDSed, IPADed – and you will find that they begin scoffing at the very concept of the jolly old bearded man in a red suit at a much younger age. And the average age when disbelief sets in about Santa is steadily decreasing, as we speak.
I really don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but to have this charming myth put to rest so early in kids’ young lives – seems a tad tragic, actually. I know it is not true but isn’t there something magical about believing in magic ? And Santa represents the magic and the innocence of childhood, more than anything else.
I still remember the times when Macadamia and Pecan were much littler and come Christmas morning, the first thing they used to do was rush over to the Christmas tree to check what Santa had left for them. I still remember the time when Pecan insisted on leaving a whole pack of cookies for Santa because he’d said “Santa will be so tired and he will be hungry”. I still remember the smiles on their faces as they looked at the goodies under the Christmas tree.
I just have to close my eyes and I can still feel that buzz of excitement that used to zoom all around them like little atomic particles as they opened their gifts. I still remember the starts in their eyes, as their little eyes shone with joy and excitement. I still remember them, with those twinkling eyes and those sweet smiles, as the festive season and the jolly old man wove their magic around them and as Macadamia and Pecan willingly entered that world of magic. I still remember the time when we had made one of those online videos for both Macadamia and Pecan and I remember Pecan being thrilled to bits about having received a message from Santa – directly addressed to him. Macadamia had, by then, already stepped into that phase which is fuelled more by realism than by magic.
I see them now, both of them – totally worldly wise and it is yet another one of those little reminders that life sends your way in saying “Look. Your kids have grown up.” In my case, I guess it is pretty much saying “Look your kids have grown up. It’s about time you did, too !” :). Santa is no more that unexplained figure of enchantment, he simply was a wispy figment of imagination that they’d come across when they were a lot younger.
I still can’t let go of those Christmas memories and I guess these are things I never will let go of. It was just a few years back when they used to sit still, stay awake as long as they could, waiting to hear the hooves of Rudolph and the other reindeers, waiting to hear the squeak of the window as it opened and the scrape as the rotund, cheerful Santa Claus squeezed his girth through the small windows in HongKong. There was such an intense air of anticipation that it actually hung over the whole house, over all of us. They believed in Santa then, because they wanted to believe.
This whole thing about the jolly old man is all about believing or not believing. It is simply about adding an element of mystery, an aura of mystery, if you may. It is all about trying to work and weave a little magic into this world of today. To me, Santa embodies the concept of “giving”, of “sharing”, which is probably why I don’t really want to “grow up” and say that Santa is unreal. Santa does not have to be unreal. He can be real, if we choose for that to be so.
It does not have to be a huge bag full of goodies. It can even be something little, doing something as little as say donating some toys to orphanages or even food to orphanages or old age homes, sponsoring education for children in remote parts of the world where education is not something that can be taken for granted, where education is a luxury that few can afford or have. It is all about trying to add that extra bit of warmth into the world of today. God knows that the world of today needs it more than it did in the past !!
Like Edwin Osgood Grover once said,
“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself/herself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he/she bestows.”
To all of you out there – may the magic live on ……….
Here’s wishing all the readers a very happy Christmas. May this Christmas and the year to follow be filled with joy, love, laughter, good health, peace and hope.
Gauri Venkitaraman dons many hats – a wife, a mom, a teacher and many more. Working as a full-time English teacher in HongKong, Gauri also raises and nurtures two terrors, affectionately known as The Nutty Siblings a.k.a Macadamia, a teen and Pecan, the ten-year old who behaves like he is fifteen. Gauri’s family means the world to her. Life is a lively roller coaster ride and we, as a family, aim to enjoy the ride together. http://tiny-tidbits.blogspot.hk/ is where Gauri pens down her thoughts and musings, in an attempt to preserve memories for posterity