Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa Still Flying High Says New Poll

I don’t remember how old I was when the magic of Santa was almost destroyed. My father took me to a shopping mall to visit the jolly old elf.  I remember sitting on his lap and seeing a shiny piece of scotch tape stretched across his white mustache.

On the way home in the car, Dad asked if I had told Santa what I wanted for Christmas.  I told him I hadn’t which prompted him to ask me why.

“Dad,” I said, “That wasn’t the real Santa.”

“What makes you say that honey?” he asked.

Pointing to the fact that Santa had scotch tape on his mustache brought an awful silence from the man who only wanted me to believe in the childhood joy of Christmas.

In the days following my visit to this “fake” Santa, neither one of us broached the subject.

Weeks later it was finally Christmas Eve and, like all parents, mine urged me to hit the silks so Santa would come and bring my presents.  I obeyed, but I knew Santa was a grown-up hoax.

My bedroom door opened into the hallway.  There was an opening in the ceiling to the attic just a few feet from my door. 

When I awoke on Christmas morning, there, in front of my door was a chair (one of those that have a set of steps that can be lowered and raised) that Dad had carefully placed underneath the opening.  

I looked up to see that the cover to the opening had been moved to one side.  As I looked down at the chair, it became clear that Santa had come through the attic (we didn’t have a fireplace). 

There on the seat of the chair, Dad had carefully arranged a dusting of dirt that outlined where a large boot had been.

In that instant, I knew that Santa was real and the guy in the suit at the shopping mall never entered my mind again.  The magic of St. Nick was real again.  It has been so ever since.

My father has been gone since 2006.  I will never forget what my father did that Christmas.  Because of him I still believe.

From the Associated Press comes this heartening news:  Year after year, Santa Claus survives the scoffers and the Scrooges and the 6-year-old playground skeptics. He endures belittling commercials that portray him shopping at Target or taking directions from an iPhone. He shrugs off scolds who say his bagful of toys overshadows the reason for the season.

Two-thirds of parents with kids under eighteen say Santa's an important part of their celebrations this year. Moms, especially, have a soft spot for the man in red—71 percent of them say he's important, and that's a big jump from 58 percent just five years ago.

His overall popularity is up slightly from an AP-AOL poll in 2006, before the recession hit. In these bleaker times of homes lost to foreclosure and parents sweating out their next paychecks, the poll shows Santa riding high with families both wealthy and poor.

In the poll, the median age when adults said they outgrew Santa was 8. But Santa needn't worry. They'll come back someday…when they're parents.

Dad, thanks for the beautiful memory.
Linked at The Pirate's Cove.  Thank you, "Admiral."

1 comment:

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