Holiday Memories: Finding the real Santa Claus

It was the Christmas of 1988. My one and only nephew, Shane, had just turned 1 and this would be the last Christmas holiday we would all spend together before he and his mother, Renee, moved away.

During this time my children started asking questions about Santa Claus.

They wanted to know: Why were there so many Santas everywhere? And is there really a Santa Claus?

Now how was I going to answer these questions, so that these two very young children ages 5 and 3-1/2 could understand?

I knew the day would come when I would be asked these questions; however, I was just hoping it wouldn't be this soon. So I thought about it long and hard and came up with their answers. I told them that the reason there were so many Santas out there was because Santa is just so busy getting ready for Christmas that he needs help, and all those Santas that you see everywhere in the stores are his helpers. But yes, there was a real Santa Claus and you would know him when you met him.

They then asked me how will they know if they met the real Santa? I told

them only the real Santa would have a real beard and wouldn't have to ask you what your name is, he would already know it. I made it perfectly clear to them, that they may never meet the real Santa in person since I had never met him nor has their Dad nor anybody else we knew, but we knew he came to our home every Christmas Eve. I told them that Santa was very magical, he was wise and full of love for all his little children. That's what he calls

you, his little children.

As the days passed by, the children seemed content with that explanation of

Santa Claus. Then a few days before Christmas, my nephew, his mother, my two children and I were in the grocery store, when all of a sudden, but who

did we see? It was Santa Claus.

As soon as the children saw him they stopped dead in their tracks and asked, Momma, do you think he's the real one? I said I don't know, but remember most people have never seen the real Santa, so try not to be disappointed if he's not.

At that moment Santa had gotten up and placed a sign at his chair. The

children asked, Momma, where is Santa going? I said I don't know, but let's

go and read the sign. The sign said "Be back in a few minutes, went to

feed my reindeer."

Then they asked me, "Momma, do you think he might be the real Santa since he had to go and feed his reindeer?" I said, "I don't know." Boy, oh boy, was I praying for him to be the real Santa.

I then asked Renee if she would stay and wait for Santa with the children while I went and did my shopping, and of course she said she would. As I was doing my shopping, I came across Santa, he had just finished feeding his reindeer when I stopped him. I too needed to know if he was in fact the real Santa Claus. Lo and behold, he was. I told him that there were three small children waiting to see him.

So I quickly rushed back to them, because surely this is one expression a mother would never want to miss.

As I stood next to them while Santa passed in front of me, he stopped,

turned, and said, " Well, hello, Crystal and Robbie, and this must be baby Shane." If you could just imagine the expressions on their little faces, it was priceless. They jumped up and down with excitement and when they got to sit on his lap and pull his REAL BEARD, they now knew, that they had met the real Santa Claus.

As the years go by, we still think back about that special day when we all met the real Santa Claus.


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