If you own young children, you may want to hide this column from them.
Or you may not, choosing instead to frame it and garnish it with a bow and leave it for them under the Christmas tree.
There is no Santa Claus.
The myth that a jolly old man in a red crushed velvet suit delivers toys and goodies to deserving children is perpetuated by the same cabal that would have us believe that fairies pay cash for teeth and bunnies lay eggs at Easter.
The people responsible for the loot you rake in every year at December do not live at the North Pole. They do not wear green felt costumes and pointy shoes with bells on them.
No, the people who bring you your gifts are your parents, your neighbors, your teachers and at times (even though it’s a little creepy to say this) complete strangers.
They are the members of the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. And Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and glee clubs and student groups and churches and every other community-minded organization whose ranks are filled with good, kind-hearted people.
They are your parents. The straight ones, the gay ones, the single or married ones. The ones who make you eat vegetables as a condition of eating holiday cookies because, while they know fudge and cakes and candy are yummy, they want you developing healthy eating habits so you don’t wind up sick. Or dead.
Yes, it’s your parents who look out for your health and well-being. That Santa guy, he just tosses a sweatshop-made hunk of plastic under your tree and doesn’t think twice about your blood sugar level or expanding waist line. When was the last time jolly ol’ St. Nick offered to handle your co-pay at the doctor’s office?
Your parents don’t want you to know they may go into debt buying you gifts, or that they may take on a second job to stuff your stocking or put money aside throughout the year so you can have a box or two to open at Christmas. They do all that in addition to busting their hump to feed and clothe you the rest of the year.
There will be plenty of time to be an adult and deal with realities of adulthood, they say. They want to protect you and preserve the magic of your childhood.
What’s magic isn’t the notion that some old guy sneaks down a chimney to leave you presents. It’s the reality that we are surrounded by good people — your mom and dad, neighbors and friends, teachers and pastors, etc. People who are generous throughout their whole lives. It just gets highlighted this time of year.