A little Christmas magic

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I knew this day would come.

I didn't want to think about it. I avoided it. I procrastinated. Then, when I knew I had to come up with something - anything - I finally pondered what answer I would give when my nine-year-old finally asked the question. And I still came up with nothing.

"Mommy, is Santa real?" she asked after a long day in the Grade 4 trenches last week.

I'll admit, we've rowed these waters before. Last year, in fact, after one of her classmates claimed that their parents were responsible for the mysterious appearance of hordes of goodies under the Christmas tree each December 25. (Which, if I'm honest with myself in this day and age of 50 Cent videos, multiple body piercings and quality family TV shows such as Trailer Park Boys, is an extended childhood.) And I came up with what I thought was an inspired response: I played the financial card.

"How," I wondered, "could we possibly afford to go out and buy all those presents, and still buy gifts for everyone else too?"

Well, the rumour that mom and dad have been masquerading as the jolly old fat man for all these years is gaining legs with the sophisticated nine-year-old set. And it's making me feel a little sad.

After all, how many times a year do you get to enjoy a little magic - not the abracadabra variety, but the honest-to-goodness kind, where your most treasured dreams come true, no strings attached? How often do you get to believe that those wishes are important enough that someone makes sure they come true?

And what does it change - and I'm not saying I believe this - if there is no Santa? Because, despite grouchy drivers cutting each other off to get to the malls, the stores packed with harried shoppers and the general stress of meeting the ultimate deadline for decorating, baking and wrapping, there is a whole lot of magic that goes on at Christmas.

It's certainly there in Carlisle, where a local resident literally turns her kitchen into a community lunchroom to raise money for those who don't have enough to eat. And where a group of volunteers hits the streets to collect food, gifts and thousands of dollars to boost the homeless and disadvantaged.

It's also there in Millgrove, where a young girl decides not only to cut her hair in order to help make wigs for cancer victims, but turns the event into a fundraiser for the research which will someday make the disease a distant memory. And where a high school student interrupts her own comfortable holiday routine to distribute boxes for Operation Christmas Child in Belize.

And it's there in Waterdown, where a high school student, moved by the plight of impoverished families in Sierra Leone, organizes a team of elementary students to provide some financial relief for a community half a world away. And where a group of EMS workers gives up their hard-earned weekend off to organize a food drive that brings in thousands of pounds of donations from local shoppers.

With all the evidence in, I'd say I have to agree with another editor on the Santa question. And since I can't say it any better, here I'll defer to a passage from one of the most famous editorials of all time, by Francis P. Church (New York Sun, 1897):

"Yes, Viriginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy...Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished."

So, my dear, even if all your friends say there is no Santa, say you saw it in the Review, and that it's so.

A little Christmas magic

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I knew this day would come.

I didn't want to think about it. I avoided it. I procrastinated. Then, when I knew I had to come up with something - anything - I finally pondered what answer I would give when my nine-year-old finally asked the question. And I still came up with nothing.

"Mommy, is Santa real?" she asked after a long day in the Grade 4 trenches last week.

I'll admit, we've rowed these waters before. Last year, in fact, after one of her classmates claimed that their parents were responsible for the mysterious appearance of hordes of goodies under the Christmas tree each December 25. (Which, if I'm honest with myself in this day and age of 50 Cent videos, multiple body piercings and quality family TV shows such as Trailer Park Boys, is an extended childhood.) And I came up with what I thought was an inspired response: I played the financial card.

"How," I wondered, "could we possibly afford to go out and buy all those presents, and still buy gifts for everyone else too?"

Well, the rumour that mom and dad have been masquerading as the jolly old fat man for all these years is gaining legs with the sophisticated nine-year-old set. And it's making me feel a little sad.

After all, how many times a year do you get to enjoy a little magic - not the abracadabra variety, but the honest-to-goodness kind, where your most treasured dreams come true, no strings attached? How often do you get to believe that those wishes are important enough that someone makes sure they come true?

And what does it change - and I'm not saying I believe this - if there is no Santa? Because, despite grouchy drivers cutting each other off to get to the malls, the stores packed with harried shoppers and the general stress of meeting the ultimate deadline for decorating, baking and wrapping, there is a whole lot of magic that goes on at Christmas.

It's certainly there in Carlisle, where a local resident literally turns her kitchen into a community lunchroom to raise money for those who don't have enough to eat. And where a group of volunteers hits the streets to collect food, gifts and thousands of dollars to boost the homeless and disadvantaged.

It's also there in Millgrove, where a young girl decides not only to cut her hair in order to help make wigs for cancer victims, but turns the event into a fundraiser for the research which will someday make the disease a distant memory. And where a high school student interrupts her own comfortable holiday routine to distribute boxes for Operation Christmas Child in Belize.

And it's there in Waterdown, where a high school student, moved by the plight of impoverished families in Sierra Leone, organizes a team of elementary students to provide some financial relief for a community half a world away. And where a group of EMS workers gives up their hard-earned weekend off to organize a food drive that brings in thousands of pounds of donations from local shoppers.

With all the evidence in, I'd say I have to agree with another editor on the Santa question. And since I can't say it any better, here I'll defer to a passage from one of the most famous editorials of all time, by Francis P. Church (New York Sun, 1897):

"Yes, Viriginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy...Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished."

So, my dear, even if all your friends say there is no Santa, say you saw it in the Review, and that it's so.

A little Christmas magic

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I knew this day would come.

I didn't want to think about it. I avoided it. I procrastinated. Then, when I knew I had to come up with something - anything - I finally pondered what answer I would give when my nine-year-old finally asked the question. And I still came up with nothing.

"Mommy, is Santa real?" she asked after a long day in the Grade 4 trenches last week.

I'll admit, we've rowed these waters before. Last year, in fact, after one of her classmates claimed that their parents were responsible for the mysterious appearance of hordes of goodies under the Christmas tree each December 25. (Which, if I'm honest with myself in this day and age of 50 Cent videos, multiple body piercings and quality family TV shows such as Trailer Park Boys, is an extended childhood.) And I came up with what I thought was an inspired response: I played the financial card.

"How," I wondered, "could we possibly afford to go out and buy all those presents, and still buy gifts for everyone else too?"

Well, the rumour that mom and dad have been masquerading as the jolly old fat man for all these years is gaining legs with the sophisticated nine-year-old set. And it's making me feel a little sad.

After all, how many times a year do you get to enjoy a little magic - not the abracadabra variety, but the honest-to-goodness kind, where your most treasured dreams come true, no strings attached? How often do you get to believe that those wishes are important enough that someone makes sure they come true?

And what does it change - and I'm not saying I believe this - if there is no Santa? Because, despite grouchy drivers cutting each other off to get to the malls, the stores packed with harried shoppers and the general stress of meeting the ultimate deadline for decorating, baking and wrapping, there is a whole lot of magic that goes on at Christmas.

It's certainly there in Carlisle, where a local resident literally turns her kitchen into a community lunchroom to raise money for those who don't have enough to eat. And where a group of volunteers hits the streets to collect food, gifts and thousands of dollars to boost the homeless and disadvantaged.

It's also there in Millgrove, where a young girl decides not only to cut her hair in order to help make wigs for cancer victims, but turns the event into a fundraiser for the research which will someday make the disease a distant memory. And where a high school student interrupts her own comfortable holiday routine to distribute boxes for Operation Christmas Child in Belize.

And it's there in Waterdown, where a high school student, moved by the plight of impoverished families in Sierra Leone, organizes a team of elementary students to provide some financial relief for a community half a world away. And where a group of EMS workers gives up their hard-earned weekend off to organize a food drive that brings in thousands of pounds of donations from local shoppers.

With all the evidence in, I'd say I have to agree with another editor on the Santa question. And since I can't say it any better, here I'll defer to a passage from one of the most famous editorials of all time, by Francis P. Church (New York Sun, 1897):

"Yes, Viriginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy...Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished."

So, my dear, even if all your friends say there is no Santa, say you saw it in the Review, and that it's so.