Christmas is just around the corner and everybody seems to be excited for this day of days to finally be here. For some it has everything to do with getting a few days off work and planning to feast on plenty of roasts and egg-nog, while doing nothing at all. For others, Christmas is one perfect opportunity to bring family members and friends round the dinner table, one moment set apart from the hassle of routine schedules and long work hours.

Sure, anticipating getting a few presents here and there might also have something to do with the sense of fun that the winter holidays usually seem to bring about. In many people’s minds, Christmas is usually pictured as this great winter postcard showing big fat smiles, funny-looking snowmen, brightly decorated trees, and no bruise ice-skating sessions. Implausibly idyllic, of course, but still alluring in one way or another.

 

“Maybe we could take Santa’s story and turn it into something more intriguing. What if the temporary fall in disillusionment when it comes to this childhood realization becomes our running engine behind making ourselves our very own giving, jolly heroes?”

 

Maybe the trick to understanding how we all seem to be indulging in this collective winter fantasy year after year has its roots in childhood. Most of us were brought up believing that the magic of the Christmas holidays were directly related to the one and only Santa Claus.

 

Kids all over the world are told that a kind, chubby, jolly, white-bearded character will reward them for their year-long niceness with presents on top of more presents. Getting to bed early on Christmas Eve means waking up to a Christmas morning filled with surprises and free access to candy. What kid (or adult for that matter) wouldn’t want that? And so it goes, every Christmas till either one of two things happens.

 

“Take that same faith you had in this other-worldly character and realize that the magic behind it all was really related to somebody making an effort to create a wonderfully exciting experience for you to enjoy and be happy.”

 

Either parents accidentally reveal themselves to be the puppeteers behind the Santa Clause operation, or curious enough children figure it out on their own that there is no magical Santa, rather more earthly and loving mom and dad. Now comes the interesting part – the way the future adult gets to internalize this discovery. Will this be the starting point of a series of gradually becoming disappointed when things turn out to be slightly different that initially thought? Will it be the starting point of realizing that the proof of love comes in all shapes and sizes, and that although the intent is a loving one, the execution might not always come out perfect?

 

“It’s got nothing to do with tallying up good versus bad deeds, but it does have everything to do with assuming accountability for how we affect the lives of those around us. And that accountability is still there regardless of whether we feel like assuming and recognizing it for what it is, or not.”

 

Maybe we could take Santa’s story and turn it into something more intriguing. What if the temporary fall in disillusionment when it comes to this childhood realization becomes our running engine behind making ourselves our very own giving, jolly heroes? Take that same faith you had in this other-worldly character and realize that the magic behind it all was really related to somebody making an effort to create a wonderfully exciting experience for you to enjoy and be happy. That’s where the magic of Santa actually comes in.

 

“If you were able to wholeheartedly believe in Santa Clause’s story  for even just one second a long time ago, try putting at least as much faith in yourself now.”

 

It’s got nothing to do with tallying up good versus bad deeds, but it does have everything to do with assuming accountability for how we affect the lives of those around us. And that accountability is still there regardless of whether we feel like assuming and recognizing it for what it is, or not. Each and every one of us matters, our actions count, our words and thoughts as well and that’s the good news. The other face of the coin however is that this is still very much in effect, even if we choose to not see or act in any way that would recognize us the authors of our own tales. Passive or not, the choices we make or don’t make still have their reverberating echoes in both our and others’ lives.

 

So, long story short, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea that from this Christmas onwards we try putting a different spin on it. If you were able to wholeheartedly believe in Santa Clause’s story  for even just one second a long time ago, try putting at least as much faith in yourself now. Try it day by day, and let this Christmas spin turn into a lifelong habit.

 

O.P.

December 18, 2016

 

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