My parents were obsessed with Santa Claus when I was a kid.
Specifically, they were obsessed with keeping the magic and mystery of Santa alive for me and my little sister (my older brother was already disillusioned to the idea). While most of our gifts were from MOM + DAD, on Christmas morning every year there would be several new gifts, marked as from SANTA, that were our bigger, slightly more “special” gifts under the tree. It didn’t matter that the handwriting looked exactly the same as my dad’s (Santa needed help people!), or that the wrapping paper was the same as other gifts (see previous comment about needing help), it was still magical thinking that these presents were given to me personally by the man with the big red bag.
Even when I was older and already knew that Santa wasn’t real - sorry, Mom and Dad, for walking in on you filling the stockings that year - I still had to keep the secret going for my little sister, with great difficulty. One year I let slip that maybe Santa wasn’t real, which really upset my mom. So much so, that when Christmas Eve rolled around, and we were driving back from my grandma’s house after our Christmas Eve dinner, we walked through the front door to see that Santa’s presents were already under the tree - “Santa” had already visited our house. For one more year, the magic was still alive for my sister.
It has been a difficult year to believe in anything, let alone magic. Looking both inward on my personal life and outward to the greater suffering the world has endured this year, it’s hard to finally reach the holiday season and feel so hopeless during a time of year that’s supposed to feel hopeful.
During a month that’s entirely about believing, what do you do when you have little belief in anything, including yourself?
2017 has challenged my belief in people, specifically in politics and in men in power. People I held in high regard failed others with their harmful actions, and in a small way, failed me as well. Seeing actors like Kevin Spacey and creatives like John Lasseter fall from grace has made me question all men, even those I love and hold in high regard.
Our country’s gun laws have let us down more than 14,500 times this year - at concerts, in churches, in elementary schools, at home. When the shooting in Las Vegas happened - the worst in modern US history - it was one of many times people have said, “Enough is enough,” and proceeded to forget about it mere months after it happened. 2017 has felt like constant anxiety waiting for the next hashtag to appear, or the next argument over #thoughtsandprayers.
We started the year by inaugurating a racist, misogynist liar into the highest office in the United States. On Monday, there was an attempted terrorist attack in New York. Yesterday, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality. All of these things bookend a long list of tragedies that made 2017 hard to swallow, even for the most optimistic among us.
But I’m not here to talk about how terrible the year was - I’m here to talk about belief. And despite all this year has thrown our way, I still believe in a few things.
I believe in women. I believe in our resilience and our unending persistence to get shit done, no matter what obstacles are in our path. I believe in my female friends, especially us Bottle bitches, who never gave up on goodness and words and the power to overcome.
I believe in love. As cheesy as it may seem, every time I see a new engagement announced on Facebook or see a country like Australia legalize same-sex marriage, I can’t help but still believe that this is the real reason we’re all here.
I believe in hope. And while saying that feels redundant, as long as we still have hope that things can change, that we can get that belief back - maybe things will change, after all.
I may not believe in Santa Claus, or “Christmas magic” anymore. I may not believe in the country I call home, or people in powerful positions (political and otherwise) or even in myself every day - but I have hope that in the new year, sometime soon, I will believe again. I have hope that there will be more Women’s Marches, more victories like Doug Jones, more “silence breakers.” I have hope.
Okay, except for Santa Claus - sorry, Mom and Dad.
Mia is an aspiring cat lady and obsessed with books, beauty, and pop culture. By day she works in publishing in New York City, and by night she can be found in bed, drinking Moscato and binge-watching YouTube videos.