Let the magic last
SHELDON’S aunt, Deirdre Theseira and her family, are happy to keep Santa well and alive.
The youngest two in her family, Miguel and Manuel Gomes, aged 12 and eight, are strong Santa supporters. Each Christmas Eve, the brothers would leave a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa. The reindeer, too, will get a carrot.
Come Christmas morning, there will only be crumbs and an empty glass left behind. And at the foot of the boys’ beds would be Santa’s gifts for them, taken off a wish list mailed to the North Pole.
“We started this tradition from the time my kids were born. We never really explained it. On Christmas Eve, we would just say that you have to go to sleep otherwise Santa won’t come. If you’ve been good, Santa will come and bring you a present at night,” explains Theseira, 47.
“There were a few times when we saw costumed Santas’ at different malls and my kids had asked why there were so many of them. My answer was: Well, Santa is really busy and those are his helpers, just like the elves.”
She tells her children, “The day you stop believing in Santa, is the day the magic stops. Santa won’t be coming by anymore after that.”
But no matter how hard parents try, children eventually grow up and discover that Santa doesn’t slide down the chimney.
Theseira’s eldest, Tatianna, 15, was about 11 when she came to realise that Santa’s gifts were probably from her mother.
“I remember I used to like reading this series of books. One day, my mum asked me which books I had and which ones I didn’t. And on Christmas morning, I received the ones I didn’t have, supposedly from Santa. That’s when the realisation hit,” Tatianna recalls.
“I was a bit disappointed. But after a while, the thought of a sleigh flying couldn’t be real and I used to always wonder how Santa came into the house because we didn’t have a chimney. So I just accepted that.”
Tatianna still receives presents for Christmas, just not from “Santa” anymore.
“Compared to when I was younger, the excitement I’d feel about Christmas is very different. I used to have a tough time going to sleep on Christmas Eve. I used to try peeking to see if I could catch Santa. When I woke up I would quickly go to the end of my bed to see what Santa has given me. I would take everything and lay it out on my bed and then go running to my mummy and daddy saying: ‘Look what Santa brought me!’ I guess that’s one of the childhood experiences I miss most. I think I would’ve liked it if I could still believe in Santa.”
Tatianna has since kept the “secret” to herself. “I still feel that sense of magic when it comes to Santa. Whenever my brothers talk about Santa, there’s like this special light in their eyes, and I didn’t want to spoil it for them.”
Theseira says: “My parents did Santa for us as children. It’s something I’ve just passed down to my own children. I think it’s a nice aspect of Christmas, that you’re getting a surprise from Santa. If you’ve been bad, you obviously don’t get what you ask for. So it also serves as a form of motivation to get them to be good the whole year, or make promises of wanting to be good.
“I don’t feel like I’m deceiving my kids. I think when they do eventually uncover the truth, they aren’t going to be angry at me, because that’s the magic of Christmas. There are so many horrible things happening in the world these days, I think parents will go to any extent just to hold on to a tiny bit of magic, even if it’s just for Christmas.”
Favourite day: The Gomes children love christmas celebrations. They would leave a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa each christmas eve.