By Anna Harman
Growing up, Santa Claus was an annual tradition in my house. On Christmas Eve, we would leave cookies and milk on the kitchen counter and rush to bed so Santa could come and bring us gifts. We’d watch him on the “Santa Tracker ” app and then go to bed, although we never could fall asleep. In the morning, we would wake our parents up and go downstairs to see all of the stockings filled and the gifts that he left us.
It wasn’t until I lost a tooth on Christmas Eve one year that I discovered the sad and shocking truth that rocked my world at the age of 10. My parents came into the room to leave a dollar under my pillow, but it was Christmas Eve so of course I wasn’t asleep. I faked being asleep, and then when my mom left the room I cried as I realized it all was a lie. It was quite the melodramatic moment.
Something I’ve learned since coming to Cedarville is that many students didn’t carry the tradition of Santa Claus in their houses growing up. This blew my mind because I can’t imagine not having that magical feeling as a kid every year. I loved waiting on Santa to stop at our house and anxiously awaiting the time we’d finally open the gifts.
A few students share my experience of Santa Claus growing up.
“In my house, Santa was the magical man who came once a year to bring joy in the form of toys to little kids,” Madison Roberts, Freshman pharmacy major, said.
She stopped believing in Santa when she was around 8 or 9 years old. The truth came out when her dad signed a school form and she noticed his unique handwriting was identical to Santa’s writing on the present name tags. She became suspicious and confronted her dad about it. Her parents then explained it to her. They asked her not to tell her brother and let him find out on his own time.
“Personally I don’t think the tradition of Santa Claus is very harmful to young children as long as they understand or hear the true meaning behind Christmas,” Roberts said. “I was a bit upset when I found out because my little bubble was burst, but I was happier knowing the truth and was even more thankful for my parents’ efforts and what they did for me.”
“Santa was someone who came to our house and gave us presents on Christmas,” Abby Shedlock, a sophomore criminal justice major said. “Santa was magic. We also had an elf on the shelf, named Chris, who flew back and forth from the North Pole to our house or wherever we were staying. Every year we would set cookies and milk out for him, and he would always write a letter in return to each of us kids, my sister, brother, and myself. He gave us three big presents every year.”
Her parents told her when she was around 13 that Santa isn’t a real person, but that he is the spirit of Christmas. Being the oldest, she had to keep this from her little brother and sister. “I was a little sad because I really thought that he was real,” Sheldock said. “The only reason I kept believing was because my dad went into the attic and shook bells. My mom told me it was Santa and that he was landing on the roof, but I better go back to bed so he knew that I wasn’t awake. It also made me filled with joy because I couldn’t wait to help keep the Christmas spirit alive for my bro, sis and my cousins.”
She got to help wrap presents and move the elf around the house to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for them. Shedlock thinks this tradition is fun because you get to see the joy on everyone’s faces because of who Santa, the Christmas spirit, is. She believes this passes the tradition on to have a spirit of Christmas as well as celebrating Jesus’s birth.
Anna Harman is a junior Biblical Studies major and also a reporter for Cedars. She appreciates writing, peppermint tea, flowers, and going to concerts.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Meath, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons