By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico columnist
Yeah, I still believe in Santa Claus. In fact I’ve got a baseball cap with a Santa tassel on top that proclaims the fact.
As a youngster Santa Claus was always a big deal at our house. In the early years for our family some years were pretty good financially and others could have been the “Hard Rock Candy Christmas” that Dolly Parton sings about. Instead the jolly old fat man came through for us anyway. Mostly we got more than we deserved.
Santa always came to our house sometime after midnight on Christmas eve but for some dang reason he hit my grandparents’ place most Christmases well before the midnight hour.
The tradition was for the grandchildren to go out to look at Christmas lights with grandma and granddad after everyone had finished supper. With all the parents involved in games of 42 in the dining room we kids would all pile into grandma’s Impala and head off singing Christmas carols as we went. We always got a kick out of singing the modified version of Jingle Bells where we were going rabbit hunting because we were actually in grandma’s Chevrolet.
After a little driving around we would begin to look for Santa’s sleigh flying through the dark eastern New Mexico sky with Rudolph’s nose flashing like a beacon. Antenna towers with flashing red lights were all it took to get us excited.
Back at the house, the parents were still playing dominoes when we returned but someone would remark they heard a noise earlier in the living room and maybe we had better go check. Sure enough Santa had been there. Some of the cousins had all their Christmas at that time. My brother and sister and I just got a little teaser gift, though. The real bounty would be under the tree at our house the next morning.
Even though the fun at our grandparents’ house and playing with the cousins on Christmas eve was great, at some point in the evening we were ready to get home and get to bed so Santa would come to our house.
Over the years there were race car sets, BB guns, an electric football game, basketball goals, bicycles, dolls, dollhouses and even as adults we each got a barbecue grill. We kept right on believing in Santa Claus, maybe because we knew if we stopped he might not come. But maybe it’s a little more than that.
As I got older I remember not exactly being able to piece this Santa Claus thing together right. There were too many holes in his defense team’s case as I saw it. At least once mom explained to us that Santa represented the spirit of Christmas and how much he loved us. She told us as long as we believed in him he would continue to love us and come on Christmas.
We didn’t know it, but we were getting the best lesson possible in faith. Believing in something we can’t see, can’t touch, can’t quite figure out is just like believing in Jesus. His love and plan for sharing that love with us is the real message of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Karl Terry writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: email@example.com