“Advice on Santa” from Emily Sloan

“To the Editor:
+++++Now is the time, right after Thanksgiving, that the second graders will be informing the first graders that Santa Claus isn’t real, and the mothers of the first graders are wondering how they are going to soothe the disappointment of those little tots. Here’s what I did many long years ago. My 7-year-old son came in quite excited and gave me a little envelop on which was written Santa Claus, and all excited he told me, ‘Our teacher had us write a letter to Santa Claus, but some of the boys said there isn’t any Santa Claus, but I thought I’d take a long shot at it, anyway. She said our mothers would know where to send the letters.’ He looked so happy I didn’t disillusion him but told him of course I’d see that the letter was sent to the right place.
+++++Then in came his 9-year-old sister all excited with, ‘Mama, the kids say there isn’t any Santa Claus. What is all this Santa Claus business , anyway?’ Right then I sent up a silent prayer that I would say the right thing, and I answered in substance if not in these exact words, ‘Santa Claus is that good spirit in all of us that makes us want to give something special to those we love, and not let anybody know about it, so we say Santa Claus,’
+++++‘Oh, something like fairies, make-believe?’ she asked, her eyes dancing.
+++++‘That’s it,’ I told her.
+++++‘Then we can all be Santa Claus,’ she said.
+++++I’ve never seen a happier child.
+++++She had less than a dollar to spend, but she was all mystery and excitement, and not only did she have a merry Christmas but a joyous time preparing for the happy surprises for us all. How was it they had been so long learning about the Santa mystery? That was their first year in town school. They had lived on a bleak homestead and had very little contact with other children, even in summer time, and none in winter.”
–Emily E. Sloan
Tacoma Daily Ledger
29 November 1956

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