Because most of the time in life, all we really need is for someone to believe in us.
My boys, now teenagers, have long outgrown their belief in the traditional Santa Claus. The days of "Bob," the elf on the shelf, getting into mischief and the excitement of visiting Santa at the mall feel like cherished memories of a different era. Yet, the essence of belief and the magic of Christmas continue to evolve in our household.
This Christmas, as I observe my sons navigating the complex world of adolescence, I see the lessons of those early years still resonating in their lives. They've grown into young men who understand that believing isn't just about Santa Claus or magical elves; it's about holding onto hope and possibility in a world that often challenges those very concepts.
While we were decorating our family tree this year (yes we have several trees in our house, but this tree is for all of their childhood ornaments and family memories), I revisited an old question with a new twist. "Do you still believe?" I asked my teenage sons. They playfully retorted with a “bruh, believe in what?” I couldn't help but smile as I clarified, “In the magic of Christmas, sure, but more importantly, in yourselves. Do you believe in who you are and who you came to be?” This time, the conversation took a deeper turn, far from the realm of childhood tales. It was about their personal dreams, their goals, and the transformation into the remarkable men they’re growing into. They responded confidently and without delay, “Yes, we believe.” Their affirmation reflected not just youthful optimism but a growing sense of self-assurance and resilience, hallmarks of the young adults they are swiftly becoming.
In this moment, I realized that our family's journey with belief had come full circle. From believing in Santa to believing in themselves, the journey has been a beautiful testament to growth and understanding. I shared with them:
“Here’s the deal, as you grow older, the act of believing takes on new dimensions. You will encounter challenges, doubts, and fears. You must continue to believe, even when the odds seem stacked against you. To believe is a conscious choice. Your dreams and aspirations might sometimes feel out of reach, but it's your belief in them that will turn the tide. Life will test you, but you must believe in your capability to achieve anything. Remember, you don’t get what you deserve in life; you get what you believe.”
Their knowing smiles and the warmth of their hugs told me they understood. They knew I was believing in them, just as I knew they were believing in themselves.
So, is Santa real? I say YES. The spirit of Santa – the joy, the wonder, the belief in the impossible – is very real and much alive. It's a spirit that brings families together, that ignites joy and curiosity, and that keeps the flame of possibility burning bright.
Will I ever tell the boys anything different about Santa? No. Because the magic of Christmas isn't just a seasonal phenomenon – it's a lifelong journey of believing in the good, the magical, and the possible. It’s about believing in YOURSELF beyond reason and being who you came to be.
Even if the traditional stories of Santa no longer play a role in your household, it’s essential to convey this to your children:
“Remember, I believe in YOU. In your dreams, your authenticity, your creativity, and your unique gifts. You are more than enough, and I eagerly await the unfolding of your magic.”
Because, most of the time in life, all we need is for someone to believe in us – a belief that transcends time, age, and even the magic of Christmas.