Where are you? It seems you have disappeared. Each day brings new challenges to your existence. I need you back. There is a Santa-shaped hole in my heart longing for you.
I remember when believing was easy. When I was five my mother gave me a pink and orange coat that I deemed too puffy. She didn’t know what I needed. The next day, you arrived with a giant pink dollhouse. It was exactly what had I asked from you. With joy I shouted into my naughty twin brother’s face, “I must have been really good!” They'd told me to be good for Santa so I was. When my mom held my brother so I could return his punch, I absolutely refused.
From an early age, I believed. My faith in Santa was high, with strong levels of holiday cheer. The books, the songs, they were all nearly hypnotizing. “He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good.” What a powerful man. My mother even said she had kissed him once. At school, we placed our shoes outside the classroom on St. Nicholas Day. An hour later, we had candy in our shoes. Truly, Santa was a man who gave without expecting anything in return, except our goodness, and if you were bad, he would know it.
In college my world was shaken upside down. For the first time in my life, I met nonbelievers. I can see not believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, but this was Santa, the head honcho. It is not like I didn’t know nonbelievers existed. My dad claimed to not believe at the time when he met my mother. For some reason, I had just never thought about it before. Outside my comfortable holiday boundaries, I began to see different ways of life. The daily exposures to these differences made it difficult for me to maintain my belief. I met others who stopped believing because their parents stopped believing, and others who stopped in exchange for naughtiness. Others didn’t feel that they left Santa, but that he left them, or that Santa was something belonging only to their childhood.
One late night, I began discussing Frankenstein with one of my roommates. With no mention of Santa at all, I wondered why Dr. Frankenstein would care so much about letting the monster he created kill his loved ones. I had to question, “What was he really missing?” He didn’t care about the gifts he could have gotten if he lived his life differently, so what is the point of feeling so unworthy? I felt empty inside with the thought of no Santa. Santa was my hope. Life was so unforgiving. When my life got difficult, I had to believe there was something better than this. Perhaps the evils of college had led me away. Was I not being nice enough? I had heard that one bout of naughtiness could affect all areas of my life. Could it be true? Did I push Santa away?
Of course Santa was everywhere: parades, the mall, squeezing into those small chimneys. From what I learned from tradition, he even watched me sleep. Bu I did not feel Santa’s presence in my life anymore; it was as if the Christmas spirit had been taken from my body. Was my whole life a lie? The celebrations, the music, the rituals, the movies – were they all just brainwashing tools? I looked for Santa everywhere. I dug deeper into the holiday festivities. Yet I couldn’t find him. I knew belief was more than a feeling, but when I wrote my Christmas letters, I felt like I was sending them to a no one.
When I looked for him, I just found more reasons not believe. Of course science can’t always fit into a nicely wrapped gift box, but nothing was proving Santa’s existence or non-existence. Yes, I had sat on his lap many a time, but that wasn’t Santa Santa. That was a representation of Santa. I wanted to believe so badly. Others would scrutinize me in my need for answers, calling me a Scrooge and telling me that I wanted him to not exist. I would shoot down their reasons. Faith is just a catch-all for the many things they couldn’t explain. Why does Santa have to have so many names? In school, my philosophy and psychology classes were completely debunking Santa. What do you mean, my parents bring the presents? I don’t have a conscience? My joys and all my emotions just came from chemicals in my brain?
So, Santa, this year when you come to town, what I really want from you for Christmas is not makeup or clothes or a ride on your sled through Paris, but to believe again. The magic in my life is gone. The gifts don’t mean anything anymore. Please have Rudolph guide you back into my heart. If you look around the world you can see others lack joy in their lives. There’s depression, rape, murder, suicide, because people have no hope.
It is hard to believe in something you can’t see. If you can go around the world in one night bringing gifts to every child, or know when I have been bad or good, why can’t you show your face? You could change the world by showing your face. We don’t need miracles, signs, or a good marketing campaign. We need you. Showing up would make people care again. We need you for more than just one holiday but in our daily lives. So many out there feign goodness for the presents, acting in the name of Christmas. The hypocrisy sends the wrong message to the nonbelievers. There is more to life than the final reward; there are also the present lives we live. Santa, show the world how to be good again, and take us back to the simple loving belief we had as children.