When we were young and belief in all things magical had not hit the trails of conflict. Something wondrous happened one Christmas morning.
“Look! I told you he is real!” My brother shouted, flushed excitement making his face ruddy. “Peter told me that he was just something parents told children to get them to behave at Christmas time, but here is the proof! He’s been here, he’s really been here!” David ran to the spot where he had been pointing and picked up the white piece of fluff that had been on the floor. “I knew I heard him on the roof last night!”
I took the piece of fluff from him and looked at it closely. Turning it this way and that, trying to discern just what it could be. I caught my mother giving my father a quizzical glance and he only shrugged back at her smiling.
“Just what do you think it is?” I asked my brother. All I could see was some white fluff that was a little denser than cat hair.
“It’s part of Santa’s beard of course, he must have lost it when he came down the Chimney.” David said with conviction.
“What? You think Santa lost part of his beard in our chimney? I thought about how much force that would take, and winced. It can’t be part of his beard, it’s too soft.” I said, “Go and feel dad’s beard and you will see that it can’t be part of a beard.”
“Well you didn’t feel the beard of the Santa in the mall; it was just as soft as this!”
“That’s because those guys are fake stand in Santa’s filling in because the real one is so busy.” I told him.
“Why does mum get us dressed up every year and have our photo taken with a fake Santa?” David asked no one in particular.
“Well I guess it doesn’t matter now, you have a piece of the real thing.” I said smiling, but truth be known I was still not convinced. Somehow I could not imagine the real Santa leaving parts of his beard behind in people’s chimneys. Wouldn’t that be a fire hazard?
“Even if it isn’t part of his beard, it is probably some of the white tuft from the lining of his suit.” David suggested. “Look, the milk and cookies are gone too!”
“The milk and cookies are gone in the morning every year.” I gently reminded him, I didn’t want to burst his bubble, he was so happy about finding part of Santa, or Santa’s suit. “Come on, Mum’s calling us for breakfast, we get to open presents after that. Race you!”
Throughout the day I came back to David’s discovery, trying to come up with another possible explanation. One by one I looked at each decoration looking for possibilities. I was just about to give up my search and accept my brother’s idea when my eye was attracted to the stockings my mother had made for us years before. Each one was red and had our names written on them with silver glitter. That was not however what had caught my attention. It was the faux white fur trim at the mouth of each stocking. It was not unlike that which my brother had found on the carpet that morning.
“What are you doing?” My brother had come into the room as I was inspecting the stockings. I turned to look at him, wondering if he too would make the connection. I remembered the look of pure delight on his face when he thought the magic real. I didn’t have the heart to let it end. I steered him away from the stockings. “Oh I was just checking to see if I had left anything in my stocking. Do you want to go and try out our new skateboards?”That is how Santa’s secret, and all things magical were kept a couple years longer in our family.