Christmas is a time where it’s easy to believe in magic. There are pretty lights twinkling everywhere, sparkling decorations, parties aplenty, people dressed up to the nines, champagne glasses tinkling, new Star Wars movies to watch… and of course, there’s the promise of Santa Claus. What… you don’t believe? I’ll admit, after you reach a certain age, the idea of a fat man in a red suit travelling all over the world in one single night, led by flying reindeer no less, certainly seems hard to swallow. But there’s just something so hopeful, so charming and so magical about the concept of Santa that I always kind of held onto a little shred of hope that he was real. Plus, that time I heard the reindeer’s footsteps on my roof when I was about eight years old pretty much confirmed it for me anyway. Santa is out there.
As a kid, I always knew the department store Santas weren’t THE ONE – I just figured he had a lot going on in December so couldn’t be everywhere all at once (I see the irony) and farmed the job out to some actors. I didn’t mind. Those guys always seemed to pass my wishes onto the real Santa and I was always very fortunate enough to find the exact presents I’d wished for under the tree come Christmas morning. They were obviously my hotline to the main man. I remember the anticipation of Christmas morning SO WELL. I had butterflies every Christmas Eve and I’d want to go to bed early so I could wake up to Christmas day sooner. My mother tells me I would often throw up in the throes of over-excitement. Who can blame me? At some stage between say, the hours of 10pm and 5am, a magical man in a red suit was going to find his way into my house – despite the fact we didn’t have a chimney – and chow down on some cookies and milk before leaving me a bunch of cool stuff. He was always SO STEALTH. No matter how many times I woke up in the middle of the night and snuck down to the tree to see if he’d been, not once did I ever see Santa in action. The closest I came was hearing those hooves. Of course – there were some times when Santa seemed in closer proximity than others. Like that time my parents were in direct contact with him – he’d asked my dad to build me a cubby house and my mum to make curtains for it because the elves were too busy that year and needed help. That was pretty cool and even more proof that he was real. They told me I wasn’t allowed to see it until Christmas because those were Santa’s orders and I respected that. No one wants to piss off the big man and risk getting a lump of coal on Christmas morning.
Over time, Santa’s visits started to slow down, but I always thought that was OK. Santa was all about little kids – as you get older, new kids are born to take your place. It’s the natural order of things. But I never stopped believing. Of course, when I moved to Ibiza I did kind of wonder whether Santa would be able to find me again – should he feel the urge to revisit me in my grown-up years – but I’ve always trusted in his reindeer compass system anyway, so I’m not going to start doubting him now. Plus, I am pretty sure I spied him in the DJ booth at DC10 on New Year’s day one year (the guy surely needs a good rave after all that Christmas stress!), so Ibiza is on his radar for sure. All these years later, I am aware that I was one of the very lucky ones who had the luxury of being able to believe in Santa so fervently and for that I will be forever grateful (and will forever listen out for sleigh bells ringing on Christmas Eve). But if Santa is just not your thing (in the backlash against lying to children, competitive parenting and consumerism or if Christmas is just not a holiday that’s in line with your beliefs – I get it), please find some other kind of magic to believe in! Because when you believe in magic, anything is possible… and that’s the kind of outlook we need more of in the world today. I recently read an article that really resonated with my not-so-secret belief of Santa Claus. The idea was that there’s a little bit of Santa is in all of us (whether you’re a parent or not). We all have the ability to play Santa, selflessly giving and not expecting anything in return. And now that it’s Christmas time, we should all embrace our inner Santas and give as much as possible. Whether it’s giving heartfelt gifts that make people feel loved and appreciated or giving your spare change or donating blankets, scarves and coats to people on the street to try and help make their living conditions a little more bearable, the spirit of giving should be at the heart of your Christmas wishes. And if giving doesn’t come naturally to you? Well, just remember – Santa is always watching!