From my worldview class I’m currently taking, one of the required texts is “Searching for God Knows What” by Donald Miller. In the second chapter, he wonderfully describes how Santa was destroyed in his youth. I think we all have a moment in our youths where a part of our innocence is lost.
For me, Santa never really existed. My parents didn’t celebrate Christmas in their youth so the idea of Santa Claus wasn’t natural to them. I just remember getting a present for Christmas just because that’s what you do for Christmas in the States. It was part of my family’s way of integrating into a new environment far away from home, which was China.
There was one year that my mom went out of her way to try to make us believe there was a Santa. She had stockings with educational presents for my brother and I. But at that point, I already heard from the kids at school that there was no Santa, so when I saw Santa’s note that was in my mom’s handwriting, it cemented that there was no Santa.
Still, I remember a few years after that I treated my conscience as Santa. When I did something I knew was wrong, I would apologize to Santa so I could stay on his ‘good list.’ Quite inconsistent with my knowledge of things, but it helped keep me from doing things I knew to be wrong. I knew deep inside that there was a higher power, and in my agnostic viewpoint at the time, I needed to identify it as something—someone—and I picked Santa. After a few more years, I changed from Santa to God, albeit only a small fraction of who God really is.
Who kills Santa for each kid is an interesting turning point. For the while, a child puts their hope that their ‘good’ deeds will overcome their ‘bad’ deeds so they will be rewarded by Santa at Christmas. Well, once Santa is gone, is there a purpose to keep doing ‘good’ deeds? I wonder how each person resolves that moment in their life.