I believe in Santa Claus.
That’s right. I am a 30-something, college-educated adult who believes Santa Claus is real. No, I wasn’t hit in the head recently, nor was I the unknowing star of a Hallmark movie where a magical stranger in a red suit introduced me to my small town soulmate. I believe in the imperfect network of people that make Santa happen every year. And it’s magical.
Let me explain: I remember reading an article in a spiritual magazine I was subscribing to that the miracle of Santa was not the story we tell kids, but the reality itself: That hard-working, imperfect people who get by with not a lot of money create a miracle every year: Kids all across the world are given gifts and allowed for one day in a year to believe in a magical man traveling across the world to bring happiness. Those connections and that generosity create for ourselves and our children the miracle of Santa Claus. Mind you, we do not always call it “Santa Claus.” Sometimes it takes the form of Hanukkah gifts. Other times, it’s handing a homeless man $5 because you feel swept up in joy by the season of giving. It’s usually an imperfect miracle, but it’s a miracle nonetheless.
For many years, right around mid-November, I would begin to dread the impending holiday season. The season always felt like work to me: Things to do, places to be, and extra emphasis on being happy all the time. It always felt like everything had to be perfect in order to maximize holiday joy. However, I always felt like it did nothing but emphasize the shortcomings of my life. Not enough money. Not enough time. This usually caused me to have a bout of holiday melancholia.
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to find a way to embrace the holiday season in my own way. My mother was deceased by then, and my family obligations were fewer. I spent more time with friends during the holidays. I tried to go to fun events that were inexpensive to attend. I watched more campy or dark holiday-themed movies. For instance, I love nothing more than to attend a drag show in December. A drag queen in a red dress lip syncing “All I Want for Christmas is You” always puts me in the holiday spirit. It was in doing this, loving the holiday season in my own way, no matter how imperfect it may seem, that I truly regained my love of Christmas. It was in connecting what I love to Christmas that made me enjoy this time of year. I found a space to give myself the gift of Santa Claus, to cobble together what I had to create a miracle, even if it wasn’t perfect.
I recommend this season to try to forget how things should be or how they used to be, and try to take the holiday season as it is: loud, boisterous, and awkward. And love the imperfections.