@santaclaus is coming to townRebecca Woolf
This post is part two in another four-part series sponsored by Dell. Thanks, Dell! You can read my other posts, and posts from other writers, at the Dell Family Tech page.
When I was a little girl, my parents read my siblings and me The Night Before Christmas on Christmas eve. We’d read the book and imagine Santa preparing his sleigh. We’d open the fireplace, put out the cookies, write letters of thanks, climb into our beds and wait… until we fell asleep. Part of the magic was not knowing where Santa was or when he’d show up or which kind of cookies were his favorite. (We made sure to put out a fancy selection so he could choose what he preferred.) No one really knew WHAT exactly he looked like because every TV and Mall Santa were CLEARLY impostors. Santa was magical because he was a mystery.
But childhood is different now. In the age of Google, nothing (nobody) is mysterious. Least of all Santa Claus. I went ahead and googled “is Santa real?” and this is what it pulled up: a million b
roken pieces of my childhood soul spoilers.
Of course, most kids old enough to google know the “truth” but what of those who want to believe longer? A little girl named Katie spoiled my fun in 3rd grade and I’ve never forgiven her for that. And while we’re busy trying to keep the magic alive for our kids by keeping them away from google, what about all the Santa apps and Twitter Santas and websites devoted to Santa and all his realness?
I don’t know what’s worse: googling that Santa isn’t real or following Santa on Twitter. The Santa I knew would NEVER tweet. He was far too ancient a being for such modern shenanigans! He drove a sleigh for chrissakes! And lived in a house with no indoor plumbing!
Hal and I talked about this last year after we all huddled around Google Maps together watching Santa and his sleigh via tracking satellite, Archer wide-eyed and riveted. Hal never had a Santa so for him, it’s ALL special. And mysterious. And magical. I realized this when I sat down to join them on Hal’s laptop, eyes glued to Google maps. And I’ll admit that for a moment there, my eyes were glued, too.
Because it did feel kind of magical. A different kind of magic than the one I grew up with but magical still…
Perhaps when our kids are grown they’ll recall following Santa on twitter and checking Google maps to see what part of the world Santa’s sleigh was hovering above in the same way I recall those cozy nights with our Elf on the Shelf and A Miracle on 34th Street (Natalie Wood edition). As long as they ALSO recall the elf on the shelf and A Miracle on 34th Street? I think I’ll be okay with that.