Believing in the Existence of Santa Claus

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Believing in the existence of Santa Claus is a practice that is generally encouraged by parents in their children.  Santa Claus or Santa is a legendary and historical figure that originated from the folklore of the western world.  According to tradition, he goes around the world during Christmas Eve, giving gifts to children who have been good during the year.

Who is Santa Claus?

Santa Claus' most common depiction is that of a portly white bearded-man wearing a red suit, spreading holidays cheers wherever he went through his signature " Ho Ho Ho".  The present representation of Santa has actually gone through several modifications as several cultures added their own interpretations to the much-loved Christmas figure.  The caricature of Thomas Nast and the poem " A Visit From St. Nicholas" in 1823 were largely responsible for Santa's present physical depiction  as it was reinforced through time in children's books, TV, films, radio, and songs.

The present Santa is believed to be a product of several personalities including Saint Nicholas of Myra, a bishop who was famous for giving genererous gifts to the poor; Odin, the Norse god who sported a white beard and visited his people with gifts; and Sinterklaas, an elderly and serious white-bearded man from Dutch folklore who distributed gifts to children based on a book that lists children who have been good.  In time, Odin also became known as Father Christmas and eventually merged with Saint Nicholas and Sinterklaas, which produced the familiar picture we now hold of Santa Claus.

The Childhood Experience

Introducing children to the belief in Santa Claus is largely seen as a positive approach for encouraging children to be good the whole year in anticipation of the much-awaited visit on Christmas Eve.  Although parents who are mainly responsible for making the Santa experience possible for their children  are not being fully straightforward with the facts surrounding Santa Claus, these efforts are being done to reinforce the magic that surrounds the famous Christmas icon.

Writing letters to Santa is a practice observed by many children all over the world.  Although these letters will be addressed to Santa's place in the North Pole, it will be the various postal services in different countries who will take charge of answering these letters, either through physical mail or email  The big number of volunteers who are willing to do this monumental task is quite overwhelming and shows how many are willing to provide the children the joy of continuously believing in Santa Claus.

My Say

Most adults are willing to concede that Santa Claus is more of a mythical figure.  This fact however has not discouraged many, including myself, from propagating this belief in children.    I am not wont to connect this practice to any politically correct belief and rather intend to use it in instilling hope in my children that there is always something positive to look forward to.  In time, they will discover the "truth" for themselves and I expect them to easily transcend from the childhood understanding of Santa Claus into the real world of adulthood.

My twelve-year old son now more or less understands the real score about Santa but he indulges his younger sister so as not to deprive her of the joys he has experienced in believing in Santa Claus.  

That said, I still have several years to do what I have to do to support my youngest child's belief in the existence of Santa Claus but I feel it may be shorter since she is starting to question the discrepancies and yet she continues to believe.  There lies the magic of Christmas!  

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