Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa comes tonight

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I can't remember how old I was when I put two and two together and realised Santa wasn't 'real'. I was with Daddy in his study one day (in the house we lived in at the time) and one of the upper cupboards was open. I remember looking up and seeing a Rupert the Bear standing there, but I didn't think anything of it. I must have wanted a Rupert (?) and was probably silently thinking that Daddy was lucky to have one.

Later, when I got Rupert the Bear from Santa, I noted that it was the same as the one I had seen in Daddy's cupboard. I can't remember now if I commented on it, but I must have pieced two and two together then ... especially since I never saw Daddy with a Rupert the Bear after that ... and never saw it again at the top of the cupboard. However, my sisters and I conveniently continued to 'believe' in Santa for a few years after we found out the truth, just to get the extra gifts.
A good friend's daughter (about eight at the time) was devastated when she found out that Santa was not real (children at school told her). She came home, furious with her mother: "Mummy, I can't believe you've betrayed me for all of these years! You're Santa?!" I wonder if, as children, that is one of our first examples of 'betrayal' or 'being lied to'. Not that I think it is betrayal or lying. It's just parents trying to inject some kind of magic and tradition into their children's lives, thereby strengthening their 'belief' muscles. But some psychologists might say otherwise. There are parents who choose to not introduce their children to Santa because they feel it is an example of dishonesty.
I wish I could remember times at which I tried to stay up and catch Santa in action (as I'm sure I must have done every Christmas Eve). I have a friend whose children religiously set up camp under the Christmas tree every Christmas Eve, in an effort to stay up and ensnare Santa as he drops off their gifts ... but they always fall asleep.
I have a friend who used to be so petrified of Santa as a child that she would get her father to sleep with her every Christmas Eve night. She told me: "Little did I know, I was sleeping with the enemy!"
Yesterday I bounced up an acquaintance and, in chatting, asked him if Santa was prepared (he and his wife have two small children). He said "Luckily the children are terrified of Santa. They scream when they see him in malls ... so we don't have to deal with that."
I remember being quietly confused and concerned about how Santa would enter our house, since we don't have chimneys and fireplaces in the tropics. And I marvelled at how it was possible for him to fly around the whole world in one night delivering gifts to everyone on time, without being seen.
This morning I woke up with a sense of anticipation, though. There is something clear and magical about Christmas Eve which I'm sure is so (for me) because of years of having believed in Santa. Now Santa has translated into God and, whatever happens, I see it as a powerful day/night for prayers, dreams, wishes and intangible gifts.
May you all have a clear and powerful Christmas Eve and receive wonderful intangible gifts.
In closing, my thoughts go to the female CEO (Vindra Naipaul) who was kidnapped a few days ago. Whenever I see her face and gentle eyes in the papers, I feel sad. Almost everyone I know (friends, my mechanic, acquaintances), who I've spoken to in the past few days, knows her or knows of someone who knows her closely ... and everyone has said without reservation or hesitation what a lovely, kind, positive and healing person she was. I was especially touched upon hearing that her employees had all offered to give up their Christmas salaries to help pay the $3 million ransom. I haven't heard any updated news on the situation, but everyone is saying 'it doesn't look good'.
In no way am I trivilaising the situation when I say this ... but on this powerful Christmas Eve, I sincerely ask 'Santa' (God) that she be released ... whatever that means now. Peace and clarity be unto her, her family and those who love her.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my Dad telling me he was Santa and arguing with him that it couldn't be true! I do wonder if it contributes to the degree of cynicism people in the West seem to have these days, it seems people find it far easier to believe those in authority are deceiving us than that they may be telling the truth.

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

5:42 AM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

Thanks, same to you.

6:24 AM  

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