When I was twelve years old, we drove 1200 miles from our home in Florida to visit my extended family in Michigan. That year, Christmas was at my aunt and uncle’s house, in their basement, instead of at my grandparents house.
The one thing that sticks out about that Christmas is my stocking. You see, in my stocking was a tiny wicker basket shaped like a heart with a latching lid. This basket was so small, it could fit in the palm of my hand. The only thing that would fit in it was maybe a ring.
No one would admit to giving it to me. Of course, I was old enough that I didn’t believe in Santa anymore, so I knew someone had to have done it. But no one would confess. Everyone insisted it must have come from Santa.
I have to admit that there was a few hours there where I did consider that maybe I was wrong to think Santa didn’t exist, because no one would claim credit for giving me that heart. Eventually, I came to realize that I was both right and wrong.
Santa may not exist in the sense of a jolly fat man in a red velvet suit, eating his way around the world while leaving gifts behind for good little boys and girls. But, the spirit of Santa can and does exist. Giving a gift, not for the credit, but for the joy that the recipient will feel, is exactly what Santa would do.
To this day, twenty years later, I still don’t know which member of my family put that little wicker heart in my stocking. What I do know is that, whoever they are, they are responsible for my continued belief in the spirit of Santa Claus.