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Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Guest blogger Douglas Dunn on the beach with his daughter JoAnn back in 1981. Doug is a regular commenter and guest-blogger on dakinetalk... Doug runs a small publishing consulting business in San Diego county and is a   certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter (for Deaf people),  last but not least he has been a Democratic Party media spokesperson and has had  the good fortune to work with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Doug also drives a Nissan Leaf !
Santa Claus and JoAnn Dunn back in 1977, "Yes there really is a Santa!" By the way JoAnn is now   married and a  Mom to two lovely granddaughters.
Editors note;
This blog originally ran as dakinetalk blog # 520 on 12-23-11 and on  12-24-12, blog #888 .also on 12-23-13, Blog #1185 It was so popular our Blogger-n-chief decided to run it again for a fourth year in a row, allowing more people to read this beautiful touching holiday story.


When my daughter JoAnn was eight years old, she came home from school one December afternoon, very upset. Some kids had been teasing her because she still believed in Santa Claus. Her Dad had told her there was a Santa Claus, and she knew that Dad would never tell a lie.
“Daddy,” she said, “I’m eight years old. I’m old enough to know The Truth. Is there really a Santa Claus?” Parents dread this question almost as much as, “Where do babies come from?”
But when a child asks for THE TRUTH, it is time to be straight with them.

“Okay,” I answered. “If you’re old enough to know The Truth about Santa Claus, then you’re old enough to know the truth about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy as well.”
“I want THE TRUTH.”
“Well, your Daddy is really the Easter Bunny. And your Daddy is really the tooth fairy. [Pause] Santa Claus is real.”

Her eyes grew big and round. “Santa Claus really comes each Christmas Eve and leaves presents?”
I said, “The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are mythical characters, made-up for holiday fun. Santa Claus is real. He really lived and is based on a real person. But it is often difficult for very small children to understand about the real Santa Claus, so over the years a lot of make-believe and fantasy have been added to make it more fun.”

We talked about the historical figure, St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, who used to go out on Christmas Eve with gifts for poor children who would otherwise have no Christmas. But like all real human beings, he eventually grew old, and died at the age of 73 on December 6, 343. But after Nicholas, others took up the role. We read together stories from newspapers and magazines of people up to the present day who spread joy by giving Christmas gifts in secret. There are lots of them! Santa Claus is not only real, but alive and doing very well in the modern world.

“If you’re old enough to know THE TRUTH about Santa Claus,” I concluded, “maybe you’re old enough to BE a Santa Claus.”
“BE a Santa Claus?” she asked, brightening.
It was too close to Christmas to make extensive plans for the current year, but we talked about ideas for the next year.

The following year JoAnn and I contacted our local Post Office and arranged to receive letters that underprivileged children had sent, addressed to Santa Claus. We found that the Post Office believes in Santa Claus, too, and takes its role seriously, and does deliver letters from children in need to real Santa Clauses.
We were able to identify three needy families, and deliver a real Christmas to each one. Instead of random gifts through large organizations for “boy—age 9” or “girl—age 6,” we responded to specific requests from individual children. What fun we had shopping, wrapping, and planning a Christmas Eve delivery route — just like any real Santa!

We felt our adventure that first year was successful. All of the children we found were in difficult situations, and it appeared they would have had no Christmas without us. But much of our energy had been spent screening the letters to choose which children were most needy. We also considered that poverty alone is no indicator of whether or not a child will have Christmas. Many families, poor but loving, will make sure their little ones enjoy holiday magic.

The following year JoAnn and I tried a different approach. We located an agency that provides care for children who had been removed from their families on account of child abuse or neglect. A social worker helped us make arrangements to be Santa for six children in a group home who needed a Santa Claus. Over lunch, she told us about the personal stories of each one of these special children who had endured terrible experiences that few others can ever imagine. We learned that the real “truth” about Santa Claus is that the “naughty” and “nice” list is part of the fantasy myth. In reality, there are no “naughty” children; that problematic behavior only represents troubled pasts cured with compassion and caring, not further deprivation. The real Santa Claus gives unconditionally. The social worker gave us each child’s list, and told us what each child had requested from Santa. Again, we provided the items on their lists, and enjoyed our merriest Christmas ever. We were hooked. We continued this tradition for several years, adapting our routine when my wife Thelma joined our family, and trying different variations such as sponsoring “Santa Claus” for children at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity orphanage in the Philippines.

I appreciate the lessons Santa Claus has taught my daughter, and the values he has shared with her. Our Christmases are celebrations of true joyfulness, and in the truest possible measure of true value. I do believe in Santa Claus! I especially appreciate the opportunity Santa Claus gave one father to pass on his values to a young daughter.

Note, epilogue; My approach to telling my daughter “The Truth about Santa Claus” was adapted from another true story that had inspired me several years earlier. It was an article in Reader’s Digest about a little Jewish boy who had grown up in New York City, feeling left out of Christmas, but felt he could not celebrate a holiday that might betray his religious and cultural heritage. But he did feel he could, in good conscience, give a gift to those who do celebrate it and BE a Santa Claus to children in need. I was so moved by the story of how he became a real Santa Claus, that I was inspired to hold it in my heart and, at the right time, do something similar. The pointed question -- demand! -- from my daughter for THE TRUTH gave me the opportunity to act on that. Just as those who come from a Christian background celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of a Jewish boy who grew up to become a great rabbi, my story about my daughter is also inspired by a modern Jewish role model.

P.S.From Seinfeld; YouTube; Happy Festivus day!

Hana Hou, (Encore) Shared From Facebook...
Happy Holidays!


Douglas Dunn said...

The true story is excerpted from my book Extro-Dynamics

KimoRosen said...

This is dakinetalk blog #1438, Mahalo Doug for being part of dakinetalk and sharing this story every year. it's a classic. It reminds me of the Jimmy Stewart classic movie, "It's a wonderful life." in the essence it never gets old and needs to be seen every year! Jimmy Stewart move over! Are you still practicing the tradition? It's something we all need to do! Mahalo for the annual inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Please read Dakinetalks' classic holiday blog by friend Douglass Dunn! We all need to do what Doug and his daughter did many years ago...