This post is for those 5 little munchkins running around the continent that have taken over keeping me young and anyone else whose friends try to tell them that there is no Santa.
PaPa Hovan believes in Santa Claus. He is the same one that is described in Francis P Church's answer to Virginia O'Hanlon's letter. And he is more. Here is my story.
When I was about 10 and my younger brother David was about 5, things did not go well for the family in the last half of the year. My dad worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. As is often the case in business, the company and the union agreed to disagree and there was a strike. If was a long a bitter struggle and lasted several months. All Dad made was a few dollars strike pay a month. Luckily Mom was working but even then there was not much more coming in than was able to cover the mortgage and bills. The two sides finally came to an agreement and the trains started to move again in mid November. Just after Dad got back to work, he came down with a bad case of influenza and was off for another couple of weeks. We had never been big on a lot of expensive presents but even still things were looking pretty sparse for Christmas.
Mom and Dad put on a brave face but kids have a way of sensing things were not going well. My brother and I were expecting even less than normal. It was confirmed on Christmas Eve when we over heard Dad through the bed room door: "Well that is all of it. It is not much but at least they got something." They then went to bed and soon we heard them snoring. Dave and I got up and snuck a look. It was very sparse but there was a small present or 2 for each of us and a couple for Mom and Dad too. Later just as we were deciding whether or not it was safe to get up, our dog Rusty went berserk like he did when someone he knew came into the house. Dave and I jumped out of bed and let Rusty out of the bed room and followed him down the hall to the living room. When we arrived we skidded to a stop. The tree was piled high with brightly wrapped boxes and our stocking were stuffed. Rusty ran straight to the front door barking and wanted out. When we opened the door he ran to the edge of the top stair and looked around with a "Which way did he go?" look. It had snowed earlier that night and there were no foot prints to be seen. Mom and Dad here the ruckus came running into the living room and stopped with their mouths open and a look of disbelief. Rusty, Dave, and I checked the back door as well. No foot prints there either.
Later as we looked at the presents and started to unwrap them, there was something for everyone. Even Mom and Dad got several. They were all from "Santa". We got the toboggan we wanted. Dave got the train set. There were lots of other toys and clothes too. To this day I still do not know who our benefactor was or how he got into the house but as far as I am concerned it was Santa and always will be. Since that magical night, my brother, until the year he passed away was always up before every one else. Later in life as his first niece came for a visit at Christmas he would be at the front door knocking at 4am wanting to know if we were up and ready to unwrap gifts.
That anonymous generousity taught me that Christmas is really about giving to others. And not just material things. Sometimes a hug means more than diamonds to some one who is down at this time of year.
So if any one asks you, if you believe in Santa don't be afraid to say that you do because your Grandfather says he is exists and if PaPa still believes it has to be true.
To the parents, that goes for you too. Even though you have heard the story many times before. PaPa say so.