A Jewish Take on the Reality of Santa

Santa Claus is coming to town!

HanukaChristmasSo many people believed that as children. And many of us make-believe it with our children. I didn’t believe it as a child because I celebrated a different holiday that brought light to dark winter nights – Hanuka.

So when my eldest daughter was in grade school and she asked me, “Daddy, do you believe in Santa Claus?” I wasn’t surprised she asked her Jewish parent. I imagined she didn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings.

But I wasn’t prepared for the question. I knew I couldn’t lie to her – at her age and the earnestness with which she asked the question, I thought the lie would have been disappointing. I think she wanted me to show her respect. I think she was saying, “Daddy, please, treat me like a big kid. I’m really ready.”

So I told her what I believed: “If you’re asking me if I believe a jolly fat man comes down the chimney and brings presents, I think you already know if that is true or not. But if you’re asking me if I believe that the spirit of Santa makes great magic happen that brings many wonderful gifts, then I can say with all my heart that I believe in Santa. And those of us who understand that spirit get the joy of sharing it with others.”