I believe in Santa Claus. You know, that jolly, kind-hearted, generous soul. But the Santa Claus I believe in is more than society’s symbol of generosity and good will, and he does not disappear after New Years. The Santa Claus I’m talking about lives inside of people. I believe that I see Santa Claus every day.
Since I can remember, I’ve gone to my dad’s company holiday parties. And since I can remember, Santa Claus came and gave toys to many of the children there, but not to me. So I hated Santa growing up. Embarrassingly, it took me years of holiday party boycotts, temper tantrums, and countless attempts to steal toys from the other kids before my dad explained to me that the children that attend the holiday company party every year are homeless, many of them without families.
The holiday season reminds me that I should be grateful for what I have, especially as I see others who have much less. Now, when I go to my dad’s holiday parties, I am thankful that I don’t receive a gift, and donate gifts myself. Because of these holiday parties, the toys that every employee donates, and the merry man who dresses up in a red suit and chuckles, I believe.
At Penn State’s Dance Marathon, I can see Santa’s jolly soul in every student that cans on street corners in the cold and with every donation sent in by families, friends and alumni. I see Santa Claus fill the Recreation Center every year. I see the same smile on the faces of the children who are fighting cancer as I saw on the children from the holiday parties, as they run around on the floor with the dancers and students that devote their time to raise money.
Most of the time, I see Santa Claus in little, unnoticed situations. I only see him when I open my eyes and really look. Santa Claus is in the boy I worked with this summer who took the leftover rolls at the end of every day to give to a homeless man. I saw Santa today as a girl helped a boy that fell off his bike into the street and dropped all his books.
I see Santa Claus every day in the newspapers. Often, he is buried behind and between stories of bad news and society’s weaknesses. When I read past the business section with the Wall Street news, past the real estate, entertainment and classified sections, and really dig deep, I can always find him.
The Santa Claus I’m talking about is not tangible and does not live in the North Pole. He lives inside of people all year long, showing through good deeds and generosity. If you look close enough, you’ll see that there is more Santa Claus in the world than we know. And if you don’t overlook him you will find him in others and, more importantly, in yourself.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.