I was thinking the other day about how I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I think I may have been in kindergarten, and my brother asked my Dad how the cookies I had left for Santa were. I easily put two-and-two together after that. I probably has suspicions for awhile, because my Dad had insisted that Santa liked beer better than milk.
I don't recall being very traumatized by the event. I probably knew about the logistical impossibility of a man in a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer giving presents to all the good girls and boys, and skipping the naughty ones. Like everything else, I believed it because I was told to believe it. I probably believed in Han Solo, too.
But, when Santa goes, so goes the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, even Cupid. And let's be honest, it wasn't long after that I became skeptical of the Virgin Birth, a man rising from the grave, and especially Hell. All myths created (in the same vein as Santa) to keep people in line. "Don't be bad or you'll go to Hell" is pretty much the adult version of Santa's naughty list. And yet, there are sane adults that believe in this stuff. Gotta have faith, I guess.
I don't understand, though, as a rational human being, why we outgrow believing in Santa, but we keep believing in Jesus and Mary and God, the silliest one of them all. Really, if you want to believe in nigh-omnipotent beings, then didn't the Greeks have a better idea? One god for every aspect of life (fire, war, love, etc.) who seldom got along, so when there was an earthquake or tsunami or something, it was really just the gods squabbling with each other and us pawns getting in the way. Sounds more rational than God, don't it?
Honestly, I would like to believe in things, like an afterlife, or some kind of guardian angel watching over me, or Santa. My mind will simply not allow it, but that's okay. Even as a rational thinker, I still believe in the spirit of Christmas. I believe that does Santa exist, inside everyone, even those who don't celebrate Christmas. I don't believe in a bellowing, cookie-stealing fat man. I don't even believe that we're celebrating the birth of Christ (who the Hell knows when he was born?) It's the spirit if giving gifts to loved ones to show appreciation that makes this a special day, not some long dead dude. Why you celebrate or how you celebrate doesn't matter. It's goddam Christmas, for Christ's sake. Sit back and enjoy it.