Fact: Santa is not real.
Fact: I do not believe in Santa. But I used to, when I was really really young.
Last night was the first Christmas Eve I spent with my 5-year-old cousin Ram. Ram is your ordinary boy– loud, funny, yet sometimes mischievous. The thing is, he gets to be really really inquisitive and that is what tested my patience last night. While everybody else is sleeping, being ready to wake up near-midnight (we finished preparing our Christmas dinner early), Ram stayed up, playing with his tablet and from time to time peering over my laptop to see what I was doing.
The whole time between 8 o’ clock and near-midnight, I was barraged with series of questions regarding Santa Claus. Ram asked if he can put up to socks for Santa’s presents. I said yes he can. Then come the questions on how far Santa was, where he was at that time, etc. In order to satisfy his curiosity, I told him Santa was off first to Tacloban to give gifts to the children there. It surprised me! This child is not selfish! For he said that it was okay Santa did not go to Bulacan first but instead went directly to Tacloban to give joy to the typhoon victims. He was determined though that he will stay up late just to catch Santa put treats on his socks.
I knew I will ran out of excuses and yet the questions kept on coming. Where was Santa’s reindeer? How can Santa come in if the door is locked? (Magic, I said) Will Santa come if he sings loudly? Does Santa have children? (My answer: None. That’s why he likes to give presents to children because somehow he longs to have a child of his own– that took me several uhms to carefully weave the story). But sleep comes faster than Santa so Ram had to retreat to bed after midnight, satisfied with the promise that he will find his socks full of treats in the morning.
Today Ram found his socks full of candies and with 50 pesos tucked in one of them. He was kind of disappointed though that Santa did not give him toys; but he said the children in Tacloban deserves the toys more than him. He was happy to see the treats and I knew for him, Santa is real and he gives lots of candies.
He is such a darling and he tested my imagination and creativity. But somehow, creating the story comes the apprehension that this little kid– who by the way is a really intelligent boy– will see through the lies fabricated in the exchanges we had. And it took me a little time to consider telling him that Santa is not real. But I realized, real or not real, the Santa-belief is just a phase. I used to believe in Santa but I realized that he was not real when I grew up. The realization, then, I thought, is a right of passage– a thing that I had encountered, and Ram will soon encountered.
Was I devastated when I realized Santa is not real? No, I was not. Will Ram be devastated when the realization comes to him? Maybe. Or maybe not. Who knows? But what the hell! Today, Ram deserves to enjoy Christmas. He deserves to believe that Santa is real and he gives candies (or toys , if lucky) to good children. And today, Santa is real and Christmas is a day to look forward to every year.