Thursday, December 1, 2011

Real Meaning of Christmas

This post is the second in a series of posts written by my brother, Tom.  They will be posted throughout the month of December.

Elf from Shillito Window 
I was in the fall of my early grade school years when it was confirmed, about Santa Clause that is.  I had easily figured out the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny but Santa was big step and after all, I wanted to believe!  But undeniable evidence came one afternoon walking home from school with two of my buddies.  Ted Middleburg and Tom Forte were two of the coolest guys in my class and they were talking about the new kid in school, they didn’t like him.  As they elevated their status by putting down the new kid it happened!  “He’s so stupid he still believes in Santa Clause”.  Ouch!  There it was independent confirmation.

As one of the oldest of 7 Jones kids, I had a sacred trust to keep this discovery top secret.  My older sister verified this fact and told me she had kept it from me not wishing to ruin my fun.  She had found Christmas presents in the attic a couple of years earlier and had filled in the blanks.  Was I the only one who had been so slow to realize? 

Crowd Outside of a Shillito Department Store Christmas Window, 1970

With five younger siblings, my sister and I doubled our effort to continue the childhood fantasy for them.  Like actors in a B movie, we took it upon ourselves to explain the multiple Santa Clause’s in the stores at Christmas.  We became experts in identifying the “real Santa” as opposed to his helpers.  “Is that the real Santa?”  my brothers would ask, no, that’s one of his helpers, the real Santa is in Candy Land at Shillitos I would explain.  We even went as far as pressing my father’s boot into the fireplace ashes on Christmas Eve in order to eagerly point to the footprints on Christmas morning.
Mark Jones and Santa

Years later while Christmas shopping with my young family my son Mark looked at me and announced “Dad, I know Santa is really you and Mom”.  I confirmed his suspicion and quickly cautioned him to keep it a secret so that he would not ruin it for his younger sister.  Something happened, Mark dropped his head and he lost the sparkle in his eyes, you see, right then he still wanted believe in Santa, he needed me to keep the dream alive just a little longer he was not quite ready to have dad put it to rest so quickly.  That night as I tucked him into bed, he looked at me and asked, “Dad is Jesus real?”  I was heartsick!  In a matter of moments I had ruined the childhood fantasy I worked so hard to keep alive in my siblings years earlier and caused my son to question the real meaning of Christmas, the Birth of the Savior. 

Mark is grown now and we both have become wiser.  We can walk through the mall at Christmas and identify the “real Santa” from his helpers.  And we know without a doubt that the angles were right when they announced to the shepherds 2000 years ago “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord”.

Photo Credits:  The two pictures from the Shillito Christmas Windows were found using google images.  I could not establish copyright.


  1. I love that little elf stuffing a toy. At first I thought he was holding two pelts but Santa's elf would not be doing that! I am enjoying this series.

  2. Kristin, I'm glad you figured out what the elf was doing, because I couldn't!

  3. Kathy, I'm so in love with your brother's posts. He needs to write! What a story teller!

  4. Well who Knew....Tom was such a wise man! Loved the Read!

    Patty from Cincinnati

  5. This comment is copied from facebook from my sister, Karen. Sorry, Karen.

    Ok! Here's my story! You know that Kath and I had a different relationship than the both of you. Even though she might not have wanted to ruin you fun and you thought you doubled your efforts. Kath took me to the basement and told me there was no Santa. I was crushed.


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