Submitted Date 12/23/2018

Since I was a little girl, I have always loved Christmas. I just do not remember much about believing in Santa Claus. I wonder if I ever did.

As a child, I remember going to the Post, a Polish club my grandmother belonged to for years. Santa was always there to take pictures with us and give us presents. Underneath, there was always something that seemed familiar. Looking back, I still cannot remember if I believed in Santa. I just knew of him.

I vaguely remember baking cookies before Christmas. I do not remember if I ever left them for Santa.

Just as I cannot remember ever believing in Santa, I also cannot remember exactly when I stopped believing in Santa. I must have been quite young, probably younger than most of my classmates. I do remember other kids my age believing in him when I knew he was not real. I wonder now if that is because I have a brother, four years my senior.

On Christmas Eve and any night before, I think I went to bed early or at least pretended to. With my eyes shut, I stayed up patiently waiting for my parents to go to bed. This habit started as soon as we noticed presents accumulate under the Christmas tree. My bother and I would plot to get out of bed when our parents were asleep to covertly unwrap all our presents just enough to reveal what was inside. We would then wrap them back up, so our parents wouldn’t notice. I cannot recall ever getting caught red-handed.

As a child, receiving gifts was expected on Christmas instead of something I hoped for, for being a good girl. As I grew up, Christmas became less about the gifts and more about gathering together with friends and family. Once the child in me grew up, the greediness of wanting every gift imaginable almost vanished. Instead of getting gifts for the sake of the show and the tell, I yearned for something more meaningful. Something I did not have to pretend to like for the sake of manners. Something that told me someone knew me and thought of me enough to find a gift I liked, rather than a gift they bought for me to impress others.

I would have loved a moderately priced journal from my favorite bookstore instead of the numerous expensive gifts that were meant for the child they must have wished they had. As the years continued, my mother would get mad as she noticed I never used the leopard handbag or the flashy jewelry. Today, I still have the delicate butterfly earrings that I bought when I exchanged another pair that she had bought me. Receiving gifts on Christmas became just a reminder of how distant I felt more and more, from my mother.

I wonder why I cannot remember believing in Santa. If I had believed in Santa (in the idea of someone who loves giving personalized gifts), would I have enjoyed receiving gifts more as I got older? It does not matter how many gifts one receives. It is about the quality and thoughtfulness that goes into it.

Even though I can not recall believing in Santa, I am grateful that I learned what it means to give and receive a gift--Santa style.


Merry Christmas! I hope everyone receives a gift they love, instead of one they end up passing forward.



Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash


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