Wait. What!Santa isn’t real?

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By 2017-12-05

By Dilshani Palugaswewa

Celebrating Christmas as a child was probably the most fun I would have all year. There was a sense of extreme excitement and warmth that surrounded the idea of Christmas and holidays. The gift giving and celebrations, the reunions and laughter, it really was the most merry time of the year. However, one of the most important exponents that gave meaning to Christmas as a child was the red suited man with a sack on his back, handing out gifts to kids.

Santa, I believed was the most essential part of Christmas. Now, when you're a kid and your mother paints the picture of how Santa is the most highly respected man in the universe because he teleports himself on Christmas day to every country, every city, every home, and every child with the perfect gift to give... you've got to respect the man!

Going by the theory 'Save the best for the last' I was a faithful believer of Santa's capabilities and never once questioned his woo doo presence in multiple places in the last month of the year. So, year after year and Christmas after Christmas, I remember pinning down a list of possible gift options to make it easier for Mr. Clause to choose from but also prayed really hard, that his elves were wrapping all the options on the lists as opposed to just one, bundling it up in onto his sleigh.

As an introverted child who didn't do much talking, I sure knew better than to reveal the hiding spot for the list I addressed to Santa. In fact, I would have a hearty laugh when my younger sister shared details of the whereabouts of her list with my mother on her subtle insistence, when she would ask the two of us "Where have you kept it? Tell me so I won't mistakenly throw it away". Yeah well, while I hoped for an upside chance, my sister didn't want any mishaps with the perfect gift for Christmas. And so she spoke.

The day arrives. It's finally Christmas and it feels so too. The bells are ringing and the songs are playing. She opens her gift and I open mine. She gets her wish and I'm left crying. Well ok, that's an exaggeration. But I always wondered how 'Santa' could get her gift right and not mine. I would then go hunting down my list in the hopes of tracing the piece of paper that I wrote, and surprisingly I would find it exactly where I left it. Disappointed, I would move on with the day of festivities in the attempt of looking ecstatic over whatever I got whilst trying not to question the faith I had in Santa and his elves.

I guess I was little too stupid and little too young to do the math and figure out that Santa coincidently had used the same wrapping paper as my mother had from a couple of months ago for somebody's birthday present. In my defence though, I imagined Santa would also be shopping for wrapping paper at Cargills, for the many gifts he had ready on his production line.

Some Christmases I happened to get the right gift. Sometimes too close to what I imagined. It of course, had nothing to do with the fact that my Christmas list was not in the place I hid it like the years before, when my list was always where I hid it and Santa took off after reading it, leaving it behind. I mean, just think about the pile of scrap paper he would end up with, if he took all the wish lists in the world!

Fast forward to one particular Christmas, I remember my mother's panic-stricken face when Santa gifted me a remote-control car and she watched on, as it smashed into walls while I figured out how to control the speed of it with the pressing down of a combination of buttons.

Of course I didn't think there was any correlation between the list going missing and getting the right gift and thus, didn't understand why she said things such as,"Careful. That cost a fortune!" Followed up with a statement to rectify it with, "I mean Santa would have spent a lot of money on that"! I would look her dead in the eye and said "How do you know? Santa bought it and he is rich". It also didn't help that I had blind faith in my parents like every child intrinsically does. Among many other tales, my father once narrated his encounter with Santa in which he had rolled onto the floor from the bed in the middle of the night and Santa happened to trip on him while passing through the house to place the gifts underneath the tree.

Forgive me for not doing the math and figuring it out already till my younger sister switched on her 'Sherlock' mode and figured out the mysteries of the wrapping paper and other many paper trails along the way scrubbing through memories of Christmas years in reverse. This big revelation back then still didn't enlighten me because I was in legitimate shock. My mother had to sit the 10 year-old me down and emotionally dismantle the monster in a parallel universe she had created, while I sat there in dejection with multiple voices in my head screaming "Wait. What! Santa isn't real?" in an echo effect. From this moment on, the magical man was no more. I mean he was everywhere; in malls, in schools, at parties, on the streets, and everywhere Christmassy.

But the Santa algorithm was broken down and I finally opened my eyes. I realized that the world was a make believe one. And thereafter, my perspective on the world changed drastically. Moral of the story- it gave me major life lessons earlier than I would have otherwise got. And that Santa doesn't need to part of every kid's childhood memory with a mysteriously magical presence. Christmas is, has and will always be a time of joy and the best time of the year!

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