A final dose of Christmas magic: a real Santa story
For some of us, the holiday season just seems to end too quickly. I will confess, I found myself reduced to sobby tears on December 26th—a day I loathe every year because I’m not a Boxing Day bargain hunter—when I realized that we could legitimately take down the tree already. Perhaps you’re the same, or perhaps you just had one of those Christmases that was lacking a little in magic. Well, for whatever reason you’re hankering for one last dose of yuletide magic, I want to share a very special story with you.
My father, Bill, loves to tell this Christmas story from my childhood. He will swear it’s a true story, and as far as I’ve ever been able to discover, it really is true. Here, for all to read and take into your hearts, is my father’s favourite Christmas adventure:
“THIS IS A STORY for all those people who have foolishly lost their belief in good ol’ Saint Nick. Both my wife and I will swear on a stack of bibles that this is a totally true story. My children had reached that time in their lives (10 and 12) when the Santa Crisis occurs: friends, school, and television, coupled with pre-teen observation, had brought them to the conclusion that perhaps their parents were somehow involved in the gift-giving process.
It was December 23rd. My wife and I decided this might be the last time we could visit the ‘mall Santa’ and have any chance of rebuilding Jordan and Mike’s flagging belief. We set out in our minivan after convincing the kids we needed to do this as a family adventure. Of course, Sue had told them I would be heartbroken if we didn’t go and I had played the same guilt trip on them only moments before. I think they came along just to shut us up.
Our first stop was our favourite shopping mall, but all that was left was an empty throne. “Oh,” I said, “Santa must be feeding the reindeer!” To the parents out there, let me ask: do you remember those times when your kids give you THAT LOOK? You know…the one that says ‘you’re a complete lame-o’? Well anyway, we went to three other malls and no Santa was available at any of them. Of course, I continued to point out that this validated my hungry reindeer theory, but we were getting desperate. It was 8:30pm as we raced towards the Lincoln Fields mall. “Give up, Dad, they never have a Santa here!” “The Santa, not a Santa!” I said, indignantly.
As we walked through the mall, Sue and I were truly sad that we had missed our last kiddie Christmas with the kids. Just then, we turned the corner and there, sitting on a chair, was Santa Claus. No throne, no cattle corral, no elves; just Santa. Well, not just Santa, but the best Santa we had ever seen. Even his beard was real. Santa hollered, “Jordan, Michael, where have you been? I have been waiting all night.” Now I must admit, I have run some great scams on the kids in the past but as they gave me the evil eye that night, both Sue and I insisted we had nothing to do with this. “Come on and get up on my knee you two, I don’t have much time!” Santa said.
For the next 10 minutes, he talked to them like he had known them all their lives. Then he said he had to get home to the reindeer (Ha! Feeding time, I smirked). As we piled into the van, the kids thanked us for organizing such a great Santa. We told them we had nothing to do with this, and it was true! We truly had no hand in this. With little patient smiles, they said thanks once again.
Later that night I asked Sue if she had organized this. She pointed out it had been my idea to go to Lincoln Fields, not hers. The next morning, Sue called the office at the mall to thank them for having such a great Santa. The secretary said, “Sorry ma’am, we didn’t have a Santa yesterday.”
To this day, none of us can explain what happened that night; but I have never heard a single word of doubt about the existence of Santa after that.
Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!”