Children all over the world continue to send their wish lists to Santa Claus. discovers that the myth lives on
‘Dear Santa Claus, I want a…’ goes seven-year-old Anagha S.’s letter to Santa Claus. The wish list is addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole, and she has added her address in detail. “He shouldn’t miss our house. Do I paste a stamp on it?” are her worried queries despite assurances from her parents. She repeatedly checks with her mother if she has posted ‘Santa’s letter’. “He has to get all those things before Christmas.”
The arrival of the bearded, podgy St. Nick is most awaited. Come December and lists for Santa are ready. The wish lists have been written, mailed or have been announced so that in case he is passing by he can do the needful. Santa, it seems, is still the man of the season.
For five-year old Abraham, an LKG student, the Santas at school or at other places are not real, these are ‘just people in Santa’s masks’. The real one comes on Christmas Eve and leaves gifts for him and his sister, Elizabeth. This year Christmas plans include sitting up, waiting for Santa, and trying to make him stay, says his mother Dr. Deepthi Sunil. He wants to see Santa “ho-ho” his way into their living room where the Xmas tree is. He is well-versed in the Santa stories right down to the names of Santa’s reindeer.
Elizabeth, a 10-year-old, informs earnestly that Santa is none other than Saint Nicholas and that he comes bearing gifts for children. He comes down a chimney and most houses do not have those. So what does he do then? “I haven’t thought about that but he is Santa right?” Yes, Santa can go anywhere he pleases; chimney or no chimney.
Windows then? She discounts the suggestion because “he is not slim enough” to fit. This line of argument then leads to the theory that maybe he comes in through the door like most people which their mother, Deepthi, probably, opens for Santa Claus. But Santa came on a jet ski with seven-year old Ayaan Mathew’s gifts.
However for Fiorella Mattam it is simple, they have a chimney, the kitchen hob in case you are wondering, and Santa comes through that. She does not mail her wish list, an elaborate one according to her mother, Bindu Sunny. Instead she leaves it in her room where Santa can see it.
But Santa needs to know what children want in advance so that he can be prepared… “No, no! Santa has this big, red bag with him that has all things children everywhere might want. He just looks at the list and leaves the things each child wants under their Christmas tree,” she says. Her list this year includes money for her father who is constructing a building. As an afterthought she says she might as well ask for something for her mother.
Elizabeth and Abraham do not write to Santa, Elizabeth says he just knows what they want. “He always gets us things that we need and can use.” They discuss what they might want with their family and Santa gets wind of it. Ayaan, who shares a room with his brother, has just one wish – a room of his own. Parents and grandparents double up as Santa’s elves, helping Santa with his work.
If demands for exorbitant gifts are shot down, the responses vary from “Santa doesn’t have to pay” to “if a child wants something he will get it.” As if Santa Claus has this huge godown where there is everything. The idea that Santa might not make it is not entertained, “no he WILL come. He has to,” asserts Anagha.
For these children Santa is a very real person, whose arrival they wait like they would for a favourite relative. “If someone was to tell my daughter, Fiorella, Santa doesn’t exist. That he is a myth, I would tell her it is okay to believe and that he exists because children should have things like these to believe in,” Bindu says
Diya Kuriachan, an eight-year old, knows Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas and that he “is kind of not there but I believe in him.”
The innocence of the children who believe, or want to believe in the myth, is heart warming in these reality television and technology driven times. As they grow the belief changes to “I don’t know.” Rhea Harish, a 14 year-old says, “I haven’t seen him so I don’t know. I don’t think he exists,” with a hint of doubt. And those presents? “That I am sure is my mother.”
Fiorella, incidentally, has asked Santa for his photograph. “So that I can see what he looks like.” But Riyadh Kurian, all of nine, is sure about what Santa looks like, “He is a fat man with a goatee and a moustache and brings presents in a sack. He comes from North Pole,” and the most important point, “he is not a Malayali.”
For some it is the real Santa and for others the idea of Santa Claus….whatever it is, Santa lives!
(With inputs from Priyadershini S. and