It started happening more and more. Elanore would travel the world to find gifts and toys for children everywhere. She tried to hire artists to carve dolls, trucks and small chairs, she visited book publishers and ordered a million books. But no matter how far she traveled, no matter how much identification she showed, no one believed that she was Santa’s daughter. Their lack of belief is the reason Santa has a workshop at the North Pole. Even when Santa went with is daughter, no one believed they were who they said they were. Eventually, the lack of belief began to eat away at the wonder of the season. People met Santa, but didn’t believe that he WAS Santa. Finally, Santa stopped coming to town. He decided to simply deliver toys, to good and bad girls and boys, and not bother trying to tell people about the true spirit of the holiday. No one was interested, no one believed.
The above “mug shot” of Elanore, was the final straw. She was arrested while trying to order 30,000 train sets. They charged her with insanity and tried to have her committed to an asylum for the holiday impaired.
Santa found that the only Immortals people believed in, now-a-days, were superheroes. Santa could fly, in his sled, pulled by reindeer, and he had a red suit, but he GAVE things to people, rather than hunt them down and fight to the death. He brought joy to children, and sometimes adults as well, he never blew things up or threatened anyone. But because he was kind and gentle, he fell out of favor. And while children sat on the laps of impostors, and told them their wishes, the real Santa only left his home once a year. He no longer walked the streets of New York or Chicago, he never went back to New Orleans. The smiles he received were generous and real, but they were smiles for a man dressed in a costume, they were for a man PRETENDING to be someone else. His heart grew sad, when he saw that they were using his image to sell products to people. He was supposed to represent giving and receiving with love and good wishes, he never cared about what people drank or wore. He felt that he had become dated, that he was no longer necessary, he felt that he was someone who belonged to another time.
And then one day, Santa had an overwhelming desire to go back to Chicago. So he put on a grubby pair of jeans, thirteen layers of warm clothing, a heavy jacket, a scarf and a hat, and left. As he walked the streets, he listened to people talking and laughing. He saw them, their arms filled with brightly colored packages, smiles on their faces and he started to feel better. As he walked in front of the Art Institute, he saw a shapeless mound, on one of the benches. He moved closer and saw a homeless man, shaking with cold, laying on newspapers. He stopped, quickly took off his heavy jacket and placed it over the quivering man. The man clutched at the coat, pulling it tightly around himself, then he opened his eyes and whispered, “Thank you Santa. I knew you would come.”
Post script: Sometimes it only takes the right words, to make you feel real again.