I never had that defining moment when I realized Santa Clause wasn’t real. I even wore sweatshirt when I was about 14-years-old that read, “I believe in Santa.”

First of all, what teenager wants to wear a holiday sweatshirt? And second of all, did I really believe that some chubby guy in a red suit was the one, who brought me my cabbage patch dolls?

I suppose everyone has their ideas about what they will believe in, what they will always question and what they simply refuse to believe. As a child, my dad rarely read me books; instead each night when he tucked me in to bed he would tell me a story from his childhood. Time and time again I would say, “dad tell a story about when you were a little boy.” Each time he would start out “When I was a little boy growing up in Roseburg Oregon…”

I didn’t know it then, but my father’s tales of his childhood would be the foundation of our bond and the reason why I was able to hold on to my belief of Santa.

When I was about 8-years-old he told the story about his Christmas at Aunt Winnie’s house. All of his cousins were there and as they were playing, one of them found a hiding place under the stairs. “When we ran in there to hide, we saw all of our Christmas presents! I knew then, Santa wasn’t real,” my dad had said as he told his tale. “But then the next morning, there was this huge model electric train circling the tree that was from Santa Clause and I knew it had to be really from him because I hadn’t seen that present under the stairs.”

Some people think its silly to let their kids believe in Santa for too long, while others, like my parents, who now have three adult children, still encourage us to leave a note with cookies by the tree.

I suppose the more you have to believe in, the less you have to worry. There have been countless times in my life where I have said aloud, “I’m just going to have to believe that everything is going to be alright.”

And in the end, it always is.

Last week, I walked into my studio apartment to find that while I was gone for the night there had been a fire. My neighbors hadn’t heard anything or smelled anything and because I had left all of the windows shut, the fire was contained to only my apartment and it had extinguished itself. My bathroom looked like a bomb when off in it and the rest of the place looked like the inside of a BBQ. Most of it was just smoke damage but as I looked at my black-stained bed and the smoked windows with the burnt shades, I realized then, why the night before I had decided to sleep on my dad’s couch. I live just five houses away from my dad, and believe me, every night of the week a pair of pajamas and my own bed beats sleeping on the couch in my clothes. But it was really cold last Thursday night and I just didn’t feel like walking those 100 steps to my own place. If I had taken the short walk to my apartment, I might not have had the chance to write this column or remind my dad how much I enjoyed his bedtime stories.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this year, I am especially excited to leave my cookies and note for Mr. Clause, I think I will tell him thanks for all those years of great gifts and if he wants to give me anything else he can, but for right now, I am just happy to be sitting around the tree with my family, wearing a silly holiday sweater and reminiscing about “When I was just a little girl growing up in Hermosa Beach…”

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all The Beach Reporter readers.