We always have a few children’s CDs in the car and the boys’ current favourite is Puff the Magic Dragon. They adore that it’s a song about a dragon and can’t understand why the last verse always leaves me undone …
Dragons live forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys.
One sad night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!
My tears never fail to fall along with Puff’s scales. The loss of childhood innocence, the end of magic and the absence of belief always leaves me heart broken.
I want it last forever – the childhood faith that impossible things happen every day and that our ordinary lives are sprinkled with magic. That the world is people with fairytale characters that leave money for teeth, chocolate at Easter and presents at Christmas. I still believe in Santa Claus.
At two and very nearly seven my boys remain believers but I have had questions from the eldest. We have skirted around the existence of the tooth fairy and Santa. I told my growing boy that he has a choice – he can believe in a world with Santa or he can believe in a world without Santa. I prefer to live in a place that leaves the door open to magic.
As a child I would watch dragon flies playing around our pond. If the light caught their wings in a certain way it was easy to imagine them as fairies. And in my child’s eye they were more fairy than fly. Mum would tell me that the small mushrooms that sprung up after the rain were tables and chairs used by the fairies at their parties. Even now, she is building a fairy garden for my boys. And for herself – because she had always believed. And that’s magical in itself. When adults don’t just weave stories for their children, but lose themselves in the fantasy.
There is a school of thought that Santa is a deceit that will eventually break your child’s heart. I see him as magic and kindness. One of the things that makes Christmas sparkle. I can leave the department store Santas and the blatant commercialisation. But the true Santa, the one who flies reindeer, brings joy to children and sprinkles the season with stardust, I love. And I will continue to believe.
In the now immortal words of the New York Sun in response to young Virginia’s doubts …
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety Fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
“Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from the September 21, 1897, number of The New York Sun.
In unrelated news, Santa might get me something to wear New Years Eve. But then again he might not. And I wanted something new to wear. As the credit card is well and truly exhausted, I am joining up with Andrea of Icadoo and Bron of Flat Bum Mum for a $30 outfit challenge. If you’re in the same boat and are keen to play along, we’d all love to see your bargain outfit posts.
I am sewing a new number but there are lots of ways to get a bargain outfit. Chain stores, after Christmas sales, outlets, up-cycle something you already have, swap with a friend or check out a thrift store (lots of people clean out at this time of year, so it’s a great option).