This I Believe

Jordan - Conway, Arkansas
Entered on December 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in Santa Clause. And not in a “wink-wink”, there are little children sitting across the table sort of way. I really believe.

I never believed that Santa was real as a child. I remember going and sitting on laps of different old men at the mall each year, writing wish lists, and leaving out cookies, and even finding jingle bells in the chimney that my parents said must have fell off his suit. If I hadn’t already been skeptical it would have been difficult to turn a blind-eye to the Bath & Body Works logo on one of them.

The idea just didn’t make sense. How could one man visit every house in the world in one night, even with a magical flying sleigh, and time changing as he flew around the world, when my mom couldn’t even get my sister to daycare and me to school on time each day? Impossible.

Last year I was riding with my brother-in-law. School had just gotten out for winter break, and as he drove across the back roads of Arkansas, his voice suddenly erupted with childlike enthusiasm “JORDAN, did you see that guy? That guy was SANTA!” The man in the truck we’d passed resembled the beloved figure. Chris’s lapse into innocence ignited a spark that I hadn’t felt at Christmastime in years.

Okay, okay…so maybe I don’t believe there’s a jolly, fat man in the North Pole, but I do believe in the idea. I believe in the story and the message it teaches about the joy of giving. I believe in the magic of Christmas, no matter where you’re from or who you are, because there’s nothing like hearing that innocence in someone’s voice, or the excitement of sharing the gifts you’ve bought for your loved ones on Christmas…and maybe knowing that you’re going to get some doesn’t hurt either.

As a literature student, I’ve studied folklore from around the globe, which many people approach with an attitude that doesn’t allow them to learn anything from these stories so filled with virtue and wisdom. I used to be one until a professor said poignantly: “Just because you don’t believe that something actually happened doesn’t mean it isn’t true.” We were studying Black Elk, who said of his tales: “This they tell, and whether it happened so or not I do not know; but if you think about it, you can see that it is true.”

I believe in the truth of Santa Claus, that it makes people happy to give to others, and that if there really is a man able to give a gift to every child on this planet, that man must be jolly. I believe that when you dismiss something for any reason, you miss out on the real truth in the story, that feeling of fulfillment or understanding that you would have felt if only you’d opened your mind just a little bit.

It took me growing up to realize that I believe in Santa Claus, and though some might say I’m too old, I think just the opposite. I have a lifetime to feel what some others only felt as children.