The other night I wrote a post about the Tooth Fairy and the quick thinking web of deceit that I weaved to make sure my suspicious eight year old kept on believing.
One of my favourite bloggers in the universe (arise Ms. Middle-Aged Matron) left a comment saying:
"My 10yo who, despite being a rockchick, still wants to believe in Santa, asked yesterday why, if he's real, he visits some kids and not others. Could your next post give me a strategy for answering that please and tips on where to obtain a bottle of magical reindeer droppings."
Of course it was just an off the cuff, humorous remark - but it made me remember something that once happened to me that every single Christmas I am reminded of. And now this year is no exception.
So sorry to turn a fun thing serious but I'm afraid I can't help it.
Many moons ago I worked in Mexico with disadvantaged kids who lived in shanty towns on the Mexican \ American border. Their families had mostly traveled up from remote regions of the country to try their luck at jumping the border to a new and brighter life in the land of the free and the brave. Unfortunately their efforts were mostly in vein so the shanty towns grew and grew and the border controls got tougher and tougher.
One day that December, near the time I was due to return home, I somehow got into a conversation with a little girl who lived in a one room concrete block with 15 other people and no roof. The subject was none other than that of Santa Claus. On hearing that I was from Ireland she asked out of the blue whether Santa came to Ireland too. I answered without thinking. 'Of course he does! He goes to everyone!' She looked at me with big sad eyes and asked 'Why doesn't he come to me then?'.
People, there are no words. No words. I gave her a hug and cursed my stupidity and told her that maybe he wasn't able to find her house.
Pathetic I know.
Every year I think of that little girl and my inadequate answers. One of millions around the world who don't get a Christmas.
So no - I don't think I'm very qualified to help to answer that question, and sadly I don't even know where to get reindeer droppings... but as for a strategy? How about suggesting that you both go out and buy a present for someone that he doesn't come to? Now if everyone did that there would be a whole lot more Santa to go around the world..
So if any of you get the chance to give a gift to someone in need this year - think of that little girl and please do it for her.