SANTA CLAUS SPOILER ALERT: Nothing major, but read it to yourself before you go randomly reading it aloud in front of others. (and if you usually randomly read my blog aloud in front of others, please tell me. I really want to know about that!) A few years ago, I got the inevitable question from Dr. Smooth. Dr. S: "Is Santa Claus real?" Me: "Of course." Dr. S: "I mean, is he like a real person?" Me: "Of course not. How would a real person travel all over the world delivering presents in one night? And how would he fit down the chimney? Or get in the houses that don't have chimneys? Don't be ridiculous." Dr. S: "Does he poop?" (typical boy question) Me: "Of course not. He's a spirit. Spirits don't poop." Dr. S: "So he's a spirit?" Me: "He's the spirit of Christmas." Dr. S: "But isn't it just you or Dad that brings the presents and not Santa Claus? He's not real, right?" Me: "My daddy always told me that if I ever stopped believing in Santa Claus, he wouldn't come anymore. And I want him to keep coming, so I keep believing." I tried to gather my thoughts and figure out what I wanted to say. Probably should have foreseen the question and had an answer ready, but I didn't. So ad-lib and improv while sorting through my own beliefs became the basis of what my child would take away from Christmas. Me: "I believe he's real. Not like a real person wearing a red suit and driving a sleigh. That part is made up to make the story more interesting. But I think that Santa Claus is real He's the spirit of Christmas. I think he's that part of Christmas that makes us want to give special gifts to each other and be nice to each other. At Christmastime, we sing songs and visit family and tell people we love them. People do things for other people more than usual during Christmas, and they try to be nicer. And I think Santa Claus kind of represents that. The idea that someone is watching. And if you're good, and you're nice, and you act the way the way you're supposed to, then good comes out of it. If you go out of your way to help others, then someone is noticing, and good things can happen." Dr. S: "So then does Santa kind of work for Jesus?" Me: "Well, I guess so. I never thought of it that way, but they both want the same thing. They want us to be nice to others, to show love and kindness, and to be on our best behavior. So I guess that Santa kind of inspires us to do our best, and you could say that goes along with what Jesus wants us to do too." Dr. S: "So who actually brings the presents and puts them under the tree? Is that you?" Me: "You know what? I don't think it really matters who does it. I think it matters that it gets done. We go to sleep all excited and anticipating what will be there in the morning. And when we wake up, we can't wait to come running out and see what was left for us. And it's awesome when we see things there that we really wanted, and it's even cooler when there's some great thing there that we didn't even ask for. And I really like that. I don't care if it's a dude in a big red suit, or a FedEx truck, or me or Dad or a big purple bunny that brings the stuff. I just like the whole idea of hoping for something and being excited for something and then something awesome happening. And you're lucky. You have a little brother and sisters. And you get to be part of that for them. You get to help them believe and be excited and hopeful. You get to be part of the magic of Santa Claus for them. And as long as we all believe, and as long as we all take part in the magic and keep it going for everyone around us, then Santa Claus will always be real, and Christmas morning will always be exciting. When we stop believing, the magic stops, too. I think Santa Claus is pretty cool, and I love what he is able to do for people. So I believe. I believe he's real. And remember what Pappy said: when you stop believing, he stops coming." So I realize you may have had a different answer (in fact, you may have had a better one!). And I'm not sure what your family does for the holidays and what you believe or how you explain it, but as for me and my house, we believe! Merry Christmas from my heart to yours with the warmest wishes for joy, love, peace and hope this season and throughout the coming year.