Did you believe in Santa Claus? I did.
Growing up, my parents shared the legend of Santa with me and my siblings. It was something that I would never want taken away from me and it's something I'll certainly share with my [future] children.
When I was young, my Auntie Annette had taped a movie off television, Santa Claus the Movie. I wouldn't say that it's necessarily the best Christmas Movie ever (many people actually regard it as a huge flop....), but it's definitely one of my favorites - Let's just say that it's not Christmas until I've watched it at least once. It stars Dudley Moore as "Patch," David Huddleston as Santa and John Lithgow as "BZ" (the bad guy). The movie starts out, explaining how Santa became Santa, and through the years how the different legends came out about him. The second half of the movie is set in the 1980's where BZ decides to try and take over Christmas. Like I said, it's not the best Christmas Movie out there, but I believe that this was really Santa - I used to believe that the head elf was really named Dooley, and my dad helped push that belief by "calling Dooley on the telephone" every year to let him know what we wanted.
|David Huddleston as Santa|
He told us that the phone number to call Santa was [something like] 555-6678, but that if we tried to call the number, Santa would know and make the operator pick up. Well, one year, I took the cordless phone and snuck into the garage and made the call. Sure enough, the operator picked up! I remember being upset because a friend of mine was trying to convince me that there was no Santa and our parents were the ones to fill our stockings and leave presents out for us. I was so upset, and making that telephone call and hearing the operator on the other end seemed like a confirmation to me that Santa just had to be real.
So many Christmas memories revolve around Santa. The year HE called me himself on the phone (It was my Godfather), the year he left me a note because he thought I was too young for a weaving loom but that if I still wanted one the next year he would bring it to me (and he really did - but honestly, what 7 year old wants a weaving loom????), and all those times I asked for ridiculous gifts - like the talking Steve Urkel doll - and he actually brought them, no matter how much they annoyed my parents.
I think I was 10 when I stopped believing. That year, Santa had brought me a sweat suit from TJ Maxx where the sizes of the top and bottom didn't match and they needed to be exchanged. I was in the car with my Auntie Regina and I remember saying, "Auntie, just tell me the truth." She was so afraid to say anything to upset me, and she explained the true tradition of St. Nicholas and WHY we have Santa. It made me understand and really the importance of carrying on the tradition. It certainly softened the blow, I can say that. Besides, I think I was ready to know the truth. Since my brother was so much younger than me, I had fun carrying on the tradition until he was ready to stop believing.
I still enjoy Santa today. I love seeing our friends post pictures of their kids with Santa, and I still get excited when I see a really good and realistic Santa in the mall.