The upstairs hallway trembled with energy Christmas night: remote helicopters battling for aerial dominance, shiny toothbrushes awaiting their maiden voyage and Miss Mary literally bouncing off the walls. Sweet Gabriel folded himself into my lap and nestling his silky head under my chin sighed, “I love Christmas. I love Santa. I love you Mom.”

One of my older boys muttered, “Santa/Mom– one and the same.” Shooting him a fierce silencing glare, I tucked my littlest boy into bed before confronting the Spoiler.

“Gabriel has just a few more years of believing,” I implored, “one or two and then it’s over. Let him enjoy the magic.”

Surprising both of us, embarrassing tears slid down his cheeks(he is a big boy– but it was Christmas and late and a day filled with sugar and long hours of play) as he lamented, “Someone told me when I was only six. I wish they hadn’t. I wish I’d had more years of Santa.”

So I pulled his head under my chin and wiped errant tears while he promised to be a believer, to keep the magic for Gabriel and Mary.


Children want to believe. They welcome Santa and leprechauns, fairies and rabbits delivering colored eggs. And while I’m simply not responsible enough to pull off the tooth fairy and find the Easter Bunny ridiculous, I fully embrace old Kris Kringle.

Because here’s the truth: St. Nicholas lived(271-342 A.D.). He brought sweets and toys to children– and maybe he doesn’t slide down the chimney on Christmas Eve these days but our stockings are filled and the wish list of George at the rest home and the Sudanese family who prayed for socks, underwear and warm boots. Santa came.

Yes, I’ve heard the arguments that Santa represents the crass commercialization of Christ’s birth but I believe he represents the best in all of us– generous, open giving with no desire for thanks or recognition. Our city hosts a Sub-for-Santa program and what could be more Christlike? We step in for Santa just as we step in for Jesus Christ– “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

In just a few years my little ones will stop looking for signs of flower fairies and they’ll laugh at my insistence that leprechauns bear the fault for my messy pantry. And then, slowly, silently, their belief in flying reindeer, happy elves and the man in red filling their stocking will slip away.* But the spirit of Santa, of love, of hope, of magic and miracles– I pray it stays forever.

Miracles are around every corner. Baby Luke– after 8 years of waiting. I did not even touch his eyes in photoshop– I promise.

*Clearly, it’s wrong to want another baby just to keep the magic in the house, but really isn’t that as good a reason as any?

December 31, 2008
January 3, 2009



  1. Ken

    January 1, 2009

    I still believe in “Santa” at my “advanced” age! I enjoyed some miracles this Christmas and will continue to look for them everyday.

  2. Claudia

    January 1, 2009

    I had this exact conversation at my house today! I wiped little tears off my 7 year old’s face as he whispered, “Don’t worry mommy, I still believe.” We went and celebrated at SoCupcake.

    Happy New Year!

  3. sarah

    January 1, 2009

    I still have four little ones that believe and pray the magic of Christmas NEVER leaves them no matter how old they are.
    LOve that picture- his eyes are to die for. You definitely are loving that new toy of yours aren’t you? Talk to ya later.

  4. Blue

    January 1, 2009

    last night when he’d been up WAY too late and just melted down at 9 minutes to midnight and wanted to just go straight to bed, it was the loss of belief in santa that was weighing heaviest on my DS’s mind. “2008 is the year i found out about santa” he lamented. “i never wanted to know that. I just want to be a kid and never grow up. i don’t want it to be 2009”. part of me can relate! but we’ll just have to create new magic in our lives this year. HNY!

  5. Chelle

    January 1, 2009

    loved this Michelle. I’ve been a little irritated this year at people complaining that the “extras”…small gifts, neighbor gifts, cards, parties are all a distraction and maybe even “bad” at Christmas time. I disagree. I think that these are the things that create memories for my famil and bring us together… delivering neighbor gifts as we sing carols, connecting with friends at parties, and I LOVE getting cards in the mail.
    I really do try to focus on Christ at Christmas time… but I am also a huge fan of all that goes along with Christmas. The trimmings… they are good for my soul.
    And Santa is real. I’m still a believer. : )

  6. Sara Jane

    January 2, 2009

    I sat on the fence with Santa this year-neither encouraging it or discouraging it. I’m off the fence now! We oohed and awed over Luke’s picture. It looks great!

  7. martha corinna

    January 2, 2009

    Amen to that!
    Some of my favorite memories as a child are the one’s where I ‘believed’, whether it was Santa, leprechauns, or Rumpelstiltskin(my Dad pretended this and left me treasures in my grade school desk, he was a teacher down the hall). I love the magic and seriously, isn’t the Savior magic? Doesn’t He transform mediocre and ugly into fantastic and beautiful? These are little lessons that I still cling to and that I love to pass on.

  8. StubbyDog

    January 5, 2009

    I wish I could still believe in Santa!

    Luke MIGHT be even cuter than my Jack. Might be……nah. But darned close! 😉

  9. katherine

    January 9, 2009

    Always believe!!!!

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