Believe in Magic

Last Call


When I was the editor of a weekly newspaper, December was always one of my most favorite months because I had the opportunity to read some of the area’s most enjoyable and meaningful works — letters to Santa Claus.

We invited the young students from the schools to write letters to Saint Nick, and then we shared them with our readers. I have fond memories of sitting after-hours at the office with stacks of letters (easily in the hundreds) covering my desk as I read heartfelt wishes.

The letters never disappointed. The children wondered where elves come from, requested gifts (plenty of them) and told Santa they were doing well in school.

Sometimes they complained about their “annoying” sister, but generally they wished their siblings well (“I love my sister, please bring her something too,” a student said).

Their empathy showed as well. The kids told Santa that they were leaving milk and cookies to make sure he wouldn’t go hungry. They wanted to know if Santa was giving presents to kids who are in need, and they wished for gifts to be given to children in the hospital.

Often a child wrote that they just wanted their family to be happy.

They told Santa they loved him.

A common message was to assure Santa that they knew he was real. They believed.

The enthusiasm of the children continues to spark joy each holiday season and is a reminder to savor the moments of wonder.

A child’s faith in jolly Ol’ Saint Nick delivering a hoped-for bicycle or a long-sought electronic device isn’t silly naivete but a dreamy sense of awe.

Why not occasionally believe in magic? Wonder can be found in the inspiring moment of hearing the perfect piece of music or in reading a book or story that leaves us buzzing with enthusiasm.

Or it can be found in seeing our favorite team perform improbable feats en route to earning an unexpected championship, leaving us delirious in childlike delight.

A holiday memory: One December, just a few days before Christmas, I walked through a department store on my way inside a mall.

The store had racks of bland everyday shirts and neutral-colored jackets and there was an aisle with shoes scattered on the floor.

The lighting was dull. I don’t remember hearing any music.

There certainly was no holiday cheer.

But then the unexpected happened. As I stepped from the store into the mall, a seemingly new world emerged.

Cheerful holiday music blared. Festive lights sparkled. Children rode on a small train.

The air smelled of candy. A child sat on Santa Claus’ lap, nervously telling him all his Christmas wishes.

A decorated tree stood tall.

The train blew its horn.

It was as if I stumbled into a holiday wonderland.


The moment may have been fleeting — and instantly the stresses of finding the perfect gift and navigating the throng of people emerged — but it’s a small, delightful memory that sticks with me.

It was the type of moment of wonder that hopefully we all experience and embrace, to be called upon in quiet times when we are blissfully lost in our memories.