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12 days: A letter to Santa

We actually don't do Santa in the traditional sense around here. Years ago (probably around five, to be exact) we talked about the whole Santa thing and decided that we would not create a fictional character, but would just play along see how things went. I have a friend who decided the same thing, and when her daughter asked if Santa was real, she went Socratic and asked her what she thought. For my friend it turned out that Santa is now a fixture in their home, but when I used the same method on Calvin last year, he decided for himself that neither man nor reindeer could fly, and that "magic" wasn't real so neither was Santa. Interestingly enough, I think the commercial availability of toys was another mark against the man in red. The stories, after all, portray him and his elves as portly toy makers, but we all know toys are made in China these days, not the North Pole (another nail in the coffin—the lack of land at the North Pole).

This probably sounds a little bah humbug, and I know some of our family are disappointed by what they see as a denial of childhood magic, but I have come to believe quite the opposite. Calvin loves to play pretend, and I don't need to tell him that the "magic tree house" on our back deck isn't magic at all but just a plastic yard toy. This is something he already knows, and that knowledge has never ruined the "magic" of the game for him. The same is true about his play kitchen, his dress-up clothes, his stuffed animals, and all the games he acts out in his head. They are all part of make-believe, he knows it, and he loves them all the same, perhaps even more so because he loves them for what they are. Similarly, we didn't need to tell him that Santa wasn't real—he got there all by himself—but that hasn't stopped him from hanging a stocking, writing his letter, and begging to visit impersonators in red all over the area.

And it certainly hasn't stopped him from sharing in the magic of the season that is part make-believe, part music, part tree-in-the-house, part twinkling lights, part gift-giving and receiving, and a whole lot of loving family. This is a magical time of year all on its own.

So here we are, twelve days to go and the letter has been written. In fact, he wrote two so that he could keep one in his journal, and we may even get a chance to deliver the second one in person later this week.

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