Kids, you’re reading this because you have questions.
Perhaps, you’ve become suspicious about your parents’ stories. You don’t understand how Santa funds his operations, monitors so many children, or can simultaneously hold court at so many malls.
Kudos to you. I admire your skepticism and tenacity, so I’ll reward you with the truth.
There is no Santa.
At least, there is no living person who identifies as Santa Claus that lives in the North Pole and watches you while you sleep. Hopefully, no one watches you while you’re asleep. That’s weird.
There is an actual St. Nicholas who lived in what is now Turkey during the third and fourth century. (Fun fact: he’s the patron saint of brewers and pawnbrokers.) Nicholas had a knack for secret gift-giving that got him conflated with Santa Claus.
But to clarify, no, we have no evidence that the presumably dead St. Nicholas burgles your house every Christmas Eve, so he can leave you Paw Patrol toys.
This answers the questions about Santa’s flying reindeers, global voyeurism, and deficit spending, but it presents another question.
Who, then, leaves the toys?
Well, the most likely suspect is your parents, but it could also be your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and even friends. Yes, an entire cabal have conspired to perpetrate this Santa un-truth.
You may be tempted to lash out at these fibbers — sob, scream, demand to know why they lied, ruin an otherwise tolerable Christmas Eve party — but please resist that urge.
Yes, they told you a lie. Several actually. (There is no Easter Bunny and The Rock isn’t made out of actual rocks.) But try to see it from their perspective.
Being an adult is difficult. It may not seem like it. After all, they have nearly unlimited access to ice cream and PG-13 films, but being a grown-up is a cynical, stressful thing.
We are constantly bombarded with expenses, expectations, and the atrocities that populate all facets of news.
Children, hopefully you’ve never heard of genocide. But it’s the worst. You may have heard your adults calling this congressman or that Kardashian the worst, but they lied (again.) Genocide is the worst. It’s the worst worst.
And it’s always happening somewhere.
And just the knowledge it exists can make being an adult intolerable.
Which brings us to Santa Claus.
As an adult, it’s difficult to trust in anything. We’ve seen the flaws in schools, in government, in religion. Our favorite baseball players used steroids and our favorite singers overdosed.
We can’t believe in anything anymore.
But you can.
You can still believe in the improbable, even the impossible.
You can believe in chubby, polar Good Samaritans and their flying reindeer and their woefully underpaid elves.
And we need you to believe in things like Santa Claus, the spirit of giving, human kindness, and other pleasant-sounding pieces of nonsense.
Because — here’s the thing — belief is like a path in the woods. At first it doesn’t exist. But then enough people travel the path and it becomes something real.
So keep believing in Santa Claus. And, we promise, we’ll start believing in him, too.
Then he’ll be real.
Jason Lea has a son, daughter, and a full-time job at the Mentor Public Library. He also blogs for Northeast Ohio Parent in his nonexistent free time. You can find this East-sider on Twitter at @jasonmarklea or read his blog at northeastohioparent.com/bloggers.