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An open letter to Santa.

Dearest Santa,

It's been a while since I last wrote you a real letter -- well, actually it's been years. Did you even notice? I'd like to believe so, since you seem to be the most magical man in the world. I mean, how else would you know I lived somewhere in the south of Metro Manila and have my present delivered by the eve of the 25th if you didn't know me at all? How else would you know that I've been consistently good in school and that I deserve my gift? You knew me. That's what the Christmas carol about you said -- and it seemed to be pretty true.

No, Santa, I won't be asking any toys from you this year. Don't you worry. At least that's one kid less in your list (that is, if I'm still on your list -- I think I've been mostly nice than naughty this year. HAHA)

I guess I just wanted to say thank you for always making Christmas a truly exciting and memorable experience as a kid. I can still vividly remember the anticipation I felt every 24th of December as I lay in bed waiting for your sleigh to arrive. I never caught a glimpse of you, but I knew you would pass by. And true enough, every Christmas morning, there underneath our tree would be your gift. The gift I secretly wished for since September, the toy I drooled over every time we passed by Landmark's toy section, the present I've been longing to open. Yours was always the one I looked forward to because you were special -- you only gave once a year, and yet it was always right. Always a bull's eye. It was always perfect.

I remember receiving a Barbie typewriter from you in second grade. It was one of the best among all the gifts you gave. It can type on actual paper with real ink, and I would spend the rest of my Christmas vacation just typing anything there -- from little short stories to even the most mundane things like the complete names of all my close relatives. I could not imagine how I had lived the past seven years without this typewriter. I could not think of any other eight-year-old who had a typewriter. I felt so grown-up, so important. It was cooler than cool. Of course, it didn't hurt that it was pink and had the Barbie logo on it. I honestly couldn't remember anything else I received that year. I recall telling myself, "Santa is the bestest awesomest man in the whole wide world," and honestly believing it. You really were extraordinary. And every year, you never let me down.

But what happened in the Christmas of 2001 was probably the most heartbreaking of them all. I accidentally discovered a secret. That year was not supposed to be any different from all the others -- I got an awesome gift again (a Barbie cash register that really scans bar codes from the Barbie items and Barbie credit cards) and I was once more so convinced that you were the most amazing man ever. I was busy showing it off to my cousins and other relatives, when one of my lola's maids accidentally pointed out that my cash register was kept in my lola's house by my parents until Christmas. Of course, my mom denied it, but I already knew -- you weren't real. You were a freakin' imaginary person. I think that was the first heartbreak I ever experienced. How could that happen? HOOOOW? I have been dooped, and I couldn't believe it.

I didn't really had a hard time accepting the fact that you were a fantasy though. I mean, I was already 10 years old that time, and somehow I was already starting to question your existence. But what hurts the most was the fact that next Christmas, there'd be no more Santa. You have been such a huge part of that holiday, I couldn't imagine a Christmas without you. What will I be looking forward to? No more letters to write on September. No more tossing and turning on the 24th, wondering if you came. No "major" gift to open on Christmas morning. Nothing. My Christmases have all been ruined.

And yet here I am, writing you a letter. I'm thanking you still, even if you caused me a pretty unfathomable anguish at ten. Why? Because you were the one who made me feel an indescribable wanting for something. Want. It's such a strong word, and it is quite funny that I learned it from you. To quote Oscar Wilde,

"We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible."

You made me want to replicate that experience year after year because after I lost the idea of you, I was determined not to lose the feeling. So whenever I want something (and not necessarily material things) I push myself to strive harder so that I can get it. I work hard for it. And yes, often by being a good girl all year round. You taught me a valuable lesson: nothing is impossible if you really, really want it. So I guess I haven't really lost you then, because I carry you around wherever I go. Even if our lola's maid ruined the physical idea of you, she didn't destroy the experience of knowing you. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Thank you, Santa. I'm certain you will be making millions of kids happy on the 25th. So I just wish that a couple of years from now, when they find out the truth about you, they won't think of you in regret or bitterness, but in gladness.


P.S. Jesus is and always will be the star of my Christmas. And wanting Him to be in my life all year long is the greatest desire of all.