I was about six years old when I decided there was no Santa and it wasn’t until many decades later that I changed my mind.
When I was a child, I caught one of my brothers filling my stocking, decidedly a task designated to Santa.
As I watched him, through slitted eyes, lying on my little bed, I felt so old, so wise and so very disillusioned.
Now, that I am old and decidedly not wise, I know for sure there is a Santa.
I see him in my grandson’s eyes when he whispers, “grandma, I can’t tell you what I got you, it’s a secret.”
I see him in the actions of my teenage niece who said, “I don’t want Aunt Treena to have to come home from work and make supper.” And when I arrived home, the aroma of a delicious corn chowder cooking in the slow cooker filled the kitchen.
It truly warmed my insides and, in fact, my whole self and tasted as delicious as it smelled.
Mostly, I see Santa in my mind’s eye where the magic that happened long ago manages to enrich my life to this very day.
My brother and I cutting a simple star out of tinfoil and cardboard for our tree.
It is one of my favourite memories, that perfect, simple star.
Me, as a child, carefully cutting the silver paper on my dad’s roll-your-own cigarette package to make more tinsel for the tree.
I also see Santa when I cover all the Christmas events that happen to be going on right now.
Actually, I really see him, he’s everywhere. So what is there not to believe?
In the face of all the heartache, sadness and downright horrible things going on in the world, it seems so very Pollyanna to keep on believing in Santa.
But, truly if one allowed oneself the morose satisfaction of wallowing in the gloom and doom which is certainly out there, there would be no room for joy, no room for magic and certainly no room to remember what is right with the world.
As the Christmas season surrounds us, I am very much aware of sorrow, sadness and general ill will that seems to be more prevalent that ever.
Weirdly, Christmas, with all its focus on peace and good will, has a way of bringing out the very worst in people.
Yes, it is the season.
It is the season when people, who are just not into decking the halls or otherwise partaking in holiday activities, may decide to spread a little gloom and doom around.
They will take the opportunity to remember their childhood and everything bad that ever happened to them.
And they will elaborate on those things to anyone who happens to be within listening distance.
They will remind us all that there is no Santa, but there certainly are Grinches and they are everywhere.
It is true.
It is true Christmas for some is truly a sad time of year. A time when people are mourning the loss of a loved one, desperately struggling with health issues and wondering where the next dollar is coming from.
These things are all part of reality, and no one is immune from experiencing any one of them.
But, still it is the season where miracles truly do happen.
One of my favourite Christmas movies is Joyeux Noel, an epic war drama film based on the Christmas truce of Decemver 1914 as depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers.
The true story shows even in no man’s land, in a country torn apart by wars, miracles can happen.
It stands to reason then, for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in a country where we are free to worship as we please, free to vote and express our opinions, that optimism, peace and goodwill shouldn’t even have to be miracles.
They should simply be everyday facts.
And, to my way of thinking, the same logic should apply to Santa.
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.