Dear Santa Clauses,
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Because something tells me this red suit wasn’t always in your plans.
Did you get a shiny fire engine on Christmas morning when you were a four-year-old who wanted to be a firefighter?
Or did Santa stuff your stocking with paints at age eight to encourage your budding talent?
At age 10 were you imagining a life as a professional athlete or a doctor?
When you entered high school, did you dream of becoming a teacher, an astronaut, or an engineer?
Do you have a degree in English, your electrician’s license, or a military uniform in the back of your closet?
I know there is a lot more to you than we see in the mall.
A lot more behind the white beard and infectious smile. A lot more in your past and in your future
A lot more that you hide for our benefit to keep the magic alive.
You could have shaved your beard or dyed your hair, but you didn’t. You could have avoided stares from curious children in July wondering if maybe, just maybe, you were him. But you don’t.
Instead, you chose this path and perhaps it’s one of many paths you’ve taken after years crunching numbers, or in front of a classroom, or behind the wheel. And how lucky are we that you did?
My kids will give you a big hug and a wave this holiday season when they see you at the mall, or the Christmas tree lot, or in the parade. You’ll smile at them, listen intently, and they will say “Thank you, Santa.”
I’ll say thank you, too.
And I’ll mean it wholeheartedly.
Thank you for helping my children believe in magic, thank you for gifting them with your joyous spirit, and thank you for the little side comment you made about cleaning their rooms.
But I want to thank the person behind the red suit too.
I want to thank the child who years ago decided that he would be a firefighter, then an artist, then an electrician. Because every dream and every choice along the way made you who you are.
I want to thank the adult who looked in the mirror one day and said, “I have something else special to give to the world.” Something your parents never got to see, but maybe always believed you had in your heart.
I’m not just thanking Santa, I’m thanking you.
Because you’re a gift. Because you care. And because, in my humble opinion, you’re the real one.