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Sudie Crouch: My belief held firm the night I saw Santa
Tim Mossholder, Unsplash

After one of the most heartbreaking years of my life, I am in sore need of some Christmas magic. 

It has been hard to come by the last few years, maybe because I have allowed myself to get caught up in 

Or maybe because my son is now at that age where Christmas isn’t so much about making lists and visiting Santa, but just giving cash or gift cards so he can get what he wants. 

Sudie Crouch
Christmas, much like the weary, tired trees the first week of January, has lost some of it’s twinkle and magic. 

I think as we get older and let life get in the way it can be hard to find that excitement of Christmas. At least for me. 

There’s been times over the last few years where I have found my own spirit weakening as I have felt like the real meaning of Christmas had been lost and that there had been pressure to do, be, and buy more had been in the forefront of the holiday. 

Where had the magic I had during my childhood gone? 

Even then, there had been a time I had started to question things. 

“Why were some of my gifts from Santa in the bottom of your chifferobe last year?” I asked Granny about a month before Christmas.


“Because why?”

The old gal gave me a harsh side eye that normally would have shut me up, but I was feeling bold, brazen, and evidently had a death wish. 

“Sometimes he delivers stuff early to help lighten his load on Christmas Eve, that’s why,” she responded with a huff. “I think the real question is why you were snooping around in the bottom of my chifferobe?”

Leave it to her to turn it around and put me in the hot seat. 

Since my grandfather and I both had been searching for hidden candy, I said nothing, as it would implicate Pop and I was no snitch. 

“I was wanting to find my old baby rings so I could see what my birthstone was,” I said. 

Not a lie. I had hoped to find them in my quest, like some little chubby, curly haired Christmas gnome. 

She accepted my fib and nodded. “I got them in the safe deposit box at the bank. But you stay out of my stuff, you hear?” 

I nodded. 

She regarded me over her sewing, pulling the needle through the quilt square. “Why are you asking about Santa? Do you still believe in him?”

I had heard things. I didn’t want to say what exactly, but let’s just say it was making me wonder. 

“Yeah,” I said. 

She raised a brow. “That’s good. When you stop believing, he’ll know. And he’ll stop coming.” 

Since I had quite a few important things on my list, I was going to keep my doubts to myself. 

“I believe,” I said simply. 


The weeks went by and that conversation was completely forgotten. 

Granny learned to lock her chifferobe and even hid the key from Pop, maybe knowing that he may have been involved in the previous snooping, or because she did have candy in there and didn’t want him to find it. 

Either way, I was eagerly awaiting Christmas morning so I could open all my gifts that I had asked Santa to bring me. 

“You better go to bed,” Granny told me on Christmas Eve. “Santa can’t come until you go to sleep.”

“Does he come before or after Mama gets home from work?” I asked. “Has she ever seen him?”

Mama worked nights and I think she worked practically every holiday. It was usually more money and being a single mom paying for private school, she worked every holiday she could. 

“She ain’t said,” Granny said. “Get to bed.” 

I wasn’t tired, but knew I needed to try to lie down or Santa would never show up. 

I tried to count sugardrop fairies to make myself fall asleep. I had just about dozed off when I heard something outside. I thought it may have been my mama coming home and listened for the sound of her car door slamming shut. 

Instead, I heard something else, something hard to describe, but I could tell it wasn’t my mother’s car. 

I crawled up on my knees, to hold on the headboard and peer out the window. I moved the curtain back slightly, and rubbed the frost off the window, pushing my face to it to get a good gander.

Only to see a face pressed up against the window looking back in on me. It was hard to make out, but I am quite certain it had a white beard, rosy, chubby cheeks, and wore a red hat.

I gasped and tumbled backwards on the bed and into the floor, running down the hall. 

Surely, it was Granny, Pop, or Bobby making sure I was asleep before putting out my gifts. 

Granny was at the table stirring something and my grandfather and uncle were watching TV. 

“What are you doing up?” Granny demanded. 

“There was someone looking in the window. I heard something, and thought Mama was home, but when I looked, there was someone looking in the window at me.”

“What the — ”she began. “Bob!” 

They all ran out to the yard to see if there was someone outside. 


Just a crystal clear Christmas Eve night, lit up by the stars in the sky. 

With maybe, just maybe, the sounds of sleigh bells tingling in the distance. 

Was it? Could it have been? 

We all looked at each other, with the same question in our minds. 

For at least one more night, I did believe. I think we all did. 

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.