The Santa Problem

Believe or don’t believe. Don’t crush your kids, mane…

I was 5 when I stopped believing in Santa Claus. Now, you gotta understand—in 1986? You couldn’t FIND a Black Santa anywhere! So, my concept of Santa was a white dude living at the top of the world with the Mrs.! However, what I was told was this man and all his reindeer were able to know what every child in the world wanted! And he would bring me exactly what I wanted?

So, that year? I wanted a Secrets Radio. These toys were like the predecessor of Polly Pocket! And I wanted one! So, when I went on my field trip to Santa’s House, I asked this man—who I just knew was Santa!—to bring me a Secrets Radio.

For all my 5-year-old logic, I just knew it would be under the tree! Fast-forward to Christmas 1986.

I get up early.

My tree is gorgeous.

There are presents.

But there is no Secrets Radio.

Ergo: 5-year-old Jennifer no longer believed in Santa. But I never told my little sister or brother this! I never was that kid to take the magic or mystique out of something. I let them just find out. It seemed gentler that way.

Now, as a Mama/Santa Claus holidays are still special at my house. I decorate. I cook. I do holiday traditions with them. But I never took Santa from them. Never. And I never will. The world is a dark enough place; every year we watch Yes, Virginia There Is A Santa Claus!

This story was taken from the actual letter written by Fracis Church on September 21, 1897–published in the New York Sun.

Here’s an excerpt (taken from

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished…

Yes, this is the real letter.

I want my children to know the world is not a cynical, morose march to a certain demise. I want them to know there is still room to wonder, to marvel and embrace all it has to offer–so they can have a share in all good things.

Little Black children deserve to wonder, too. So, yes ”Santa” brings the big stuff they want. Mom puts up a tree, we watch the Christmas specials and keep the tree up past New Year’s. I allow my kids, to be kids. That is the best present. Their joy.

Their complete, simple joy.

That reminds me what I work so hard for. Besides, how else could Santa do what she does without Black Girl Magic? I’ll wait.

[images from and]

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