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My encounter with the real Santa Claus, part 1

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As a child, I heard about Santa Claus in Christmas carols. I remembered at the age of six, I hanged a clear, plastic bag by the window to see if he was real. I would note that the bag would move a tiny bit sometimes and I would get excited but my playmates would tell me that it was just the wind that displaced it. Christmas came and went and the bag remained empty. Since then, I knew Santa Claus wasn't real; not when nobody from our poor province received anything from him.

As a parent, we didn't encourage such tradition of playing Santa for our kids. I considered it a lavish and foolish tradition meant only for the rich, for those who can afford to buy whatever their kids would write in their Christmas wish list. Since it wasn't a popular tradition in a poor country like the Philippines, it wasn't such a big deal.

When my family migrated in the US, I was amazed at how this tradition was being taken so seriously by some of the families to the point that it brought a big dilemma for my family. I cannot for the life of me ever begin to encourage such a fallacy and find a justification for such a practice when the only belief I wanted to establish in my kids are beliefs grounded in truth like God and his kingdom and not in a fictitious character in red costume who flies from the north pole with his reindeers bearing gifts prepared by his elves. But because I did not like my then seven-year-old daughter to feel unloved by this Santa figure, I went ahead and left some goodies in their stockings anyway. I denied that it was me but I still felt uneasy over such duplicity. My younger daughter who knew Santa was a fake because of things she read in Wikipedia became excited yet confused at the same time. My older daughter merely smiled and shrugged her shoulders. She did not care much since she knew Santa Claus is just a make-believe character. The issue was left hanging as the season passed.

When December came, the issue resurfaced once again. My two daughters confronted me about the gifts in their stockings last year. Where did I buy it? I know they've had me singled-out but they needed to
hear my confession, which did not take much of an effort this time to get from me. Again, I am faced with the dilemma. Should I even fill their stockings with goodies this year? My now-eight-year-old daughter seem to be the one most affected by the issue since most of her classmates still believed in this Santa Claus character. In order to settle the issue once and for all, she wrote two notes: one addressed to Santa Claus and the other addressed to St. Nicholas and put it in her stockings. She was hoping that she'd get a reply from the one who is real. Did she get it?

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