How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa Claus? I think it depended on your family situation. If you grew up in a household with several children, then it was probably early. The word about Santa being a figment would cascade from schools through your siblings.
Conditions that cause loss of trust in Santa Claus
If your parents were consistent with the message about Santa, then it is likely you believed for a longer period. I can remember my father on Christmas Eve. He would stand in the doorway of my bedroom and drum his fingers on the side of the door sill. His hands were out of sight to me from my bed. He would say, “I think I can hear the hoofs up on the roof now.”
It seemed illogical that the fat man could slide down a chimney with a heavy bag of toys. It was especially puzzling when we had a fire going in the fireplace. My trust in Santa was dashed by the time I was about five or six. I think the atmosphere at school had a lot to do with killing off the myth.
My brothers and I played along with the game for several years after we knew the truth. Why kill off a figment that ends up bringing toys into the house? We actually did not trust that Santa was real, but we played the game because it was to our advantage. It was like a faux trust.
The faith came back
Today, when I see the faces of small children when Santa visits, I begin to have faith again. I am firmly convinced that Santa Claus is alive and well. It is the concept rather than the person that makes it real for me.
There is a lot of pain and uncertainty in our world these days, especially for children. To have the jolly fat man in a red suit visit the place is some comfort. It does not matter that you know it is really Uncle Neddy dressed like Santa. The magic still works. You trust in the goodness of the image rather than the person.
In the spirit of the holiday season, let’s all rejoice that Santa is very much alive and at work in our hometown. It will make our lives just a little brighter, and that is a blessing in these challenging times. Don’t let anyone tell you that Santa Claus is a myth.
If you truly believe in the concept of Santa Claus, it is worth it to get out of bed and enjoy your day.
Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations