As Christmas approaches and the countdown is fully in tow, as a parent, I can’t help but notice whisperings. They take me back to when I was a child. Parents and older children alike have their pins poised, itching to burst the little kids’ bubbles and ‘tell them the truth’. ‘It can’t carry on’ ‘They’ll be teased if they believe’ ‘We can’t lie to them’. And the question I struggle to grapple with most, especially in a climate that’s so in need of it is: ‘What’s wrong with believing in the magic of a man in a red suit preparing to carry out 7.7 billion random acts of kindness?’
I don’t like the fact that Santa takes the brunt of the ‘truth beating’. If you ever salute a magpie, avoid walking under a ladder, or refrain from parading around your house with an umbrella above your head, then YOU should believe too. If you ever wish on a star, the candles on a cake, or even an eyelash for goodness sake, then YOU should believe too.
Dreams and wishes are not as straightforward as fact or fiction, so instead of beating up poor old Santa, we need to take a leaf out of his book.
I genuinely believe that almost every eight-year-old has, in their heart of hearts, figured out that whether it’s the flying sleigh, the speed of delivery, or the fitting down chimneys despite a rather rotund frame, there are a few too many holes in the sheer feasibility of Santa’s story.
But, and this is where the magic really lies; they’ve decided, despite what kids at school are saying or what they’ve suspected for some time, they want to believe. They love the pure magic of the occasion and the dream is more important than the reality. And it is exactly this spirit that we all need to harness more in everything we do.
We shouldn’t be bursting bubbles, but conjuring our own spells, working out who is in need and how we can bring them joy.
So, as the festive season approaches, have a look around at the people you see every day and think about how you will embrace the spirit of giving. I challenge you to have the contagious spirit of old St Nick, who has inspired families the world over to use their imaginations, to come up with ideas that will delight people, to show generosity that you don’t get the credit for and to look at those around you and consider: What could you do to brighten their days without them even knowing it was you?
If we all did this the world over then 7.7 billion random acts of kindness WOULD happen… as if by magic.