I had a religiously ambiguous childhood. Having a Jewish mother and a Catholic father theoretically meant that I was exposed to both faiths. So when December rolled around, we lit the menorah and received small gifts each night of Hanukkah. But this minor Jewish holiday couldn’t hold a candle (pun intended) to the big guy in the red suit. Christmas was purely secular in my home; I’m not sure that I even realized the religious significance of the holiday until I was a tween.
Christmas Eve arrived, and my sister and I put a plate of cookies and a glass of milk next to the tree. Then I wrote a note to Santa, which I have recreated here:
I thought I was being so clever. Before I headed up to bed, I asked my parents and my grandparents to sign Santa’s name on another piece of paper. Now I could compare Santa’s autograph to my family members’ and I would prove or disprove Santa’s existence. My nine-year-old self was not going to be fooled.
The next morning, Santa’s autograph was sitting on top of a present wrapped in paper I had never seen before. I eagerly unwrapped it to find a typewriter – how did Santa always know what I wanted?
Wait a minute…how DID he always know what I wanted? I pulled out the paper with my family’s signatures, and compared each one to Santa’s. No match – he must be real! What a relief. I wasn’t ready to not believe. I spent the better part of Christmas Day happily banging on my typewriter, oblivious to the fact that my father was capable of disguising his handwriting.
I don’t remember exactly when I learned the truth. I don’t even remember how I felt about it. But I do remember that Christmas long ago, and that tenacious little girl who tried to prove the existence of magic.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post: “One of my favorite childhood memories is…” Click here to add yours or to read some more.
How did the Santa thing play out when you were a kid?