The Santa Claus Myth
“I know he’s going to find out eventually. Of course, he’s picking it up at school. But the older kids can be so cruel to the little ones. If he ruins it for his younger sister…” Mary shook her head.
“Um hum,” Vera said as she continued to make centerpieces for the fundraiser.
“Here he is. Billy, do you want some hot chocolate?” Mary asked.
Once Billy was at table with chocolate Vera said, “So, Billy, is Santa going to bring you lots of goodies?”
“There isn’t any Santa Claus!” Billy said with the passion of a convert.
“Is that so?” Vera ignored Mary’s hostile glance.
“Nobody could go around the world in one night! Your parents buy stuff and put Santa’s name on it.”
“Well, that’s the first part. What about the second part?”
“What second part?” Billy asked suspiciously.
You know you have to pass some tests to become an adult, right? There’s a reason that adults pretend that one kind and generous guy delivers all the toys on Christmas Eve. It’s a test. The first part is when you figure out that’s impossible. Did you figure out the second part?”
“There isn’t any second part,” Billy said uncertainly.
“Lots of kids pass the first part and fail the second part. You’ve seen them at school – the ones telling the really little kids that there isn’t any Santa Claus? Sometimes they even make them cry. You’ve seen that, right?”
Billy said nothing but wore a guilty look.
“To pass the second part you have to become Santa Claus.”
“There isn’t any…”
“Right, there isn’t one person who is Santa Claus, because Santa Claus is all of us. Once you figure out that there isn’t anyone out there who will be kind and generous to little kids, then you decide to be kind and generous to them yourself. That’s what makes the difference between a little kid, who believes in Santa Claus and a big kid who keeps the secret and works to make Christmas a special time for little kids. Those mean kids who run around telling little kids that there is no Santa Claus are just little kids in a big kid’s body. They passed the first part of the test but failed the second. It will take them a really long time to become grown ups. You wouldn’t tell a little kid that there’s no Santa Claus, would you, Billy?”
“There’s some kids at school who tell the little kids that there’s no Santa Claus,” Billy deflected.
“That’s really sad. I hope you wouldn’t say something like that to a little kid.”
“That’s great, Billy! That makes you a Santa Claus, too! Congratulations! You’re a big kid now.”
“If you’re done with your chocolate, you could go do your homework,” Mary said.
Once Billy left Mary turned to Vera, “Thank you.”
“I hate Christmas bullies,” Vera said. “How many more centerpieces are we making?”
© Jane Burch-Pesses
© Jane Burch-Pesses