I am taking a departure from my usual content to share a personal experience in the hopes that it may help others in the future. Thanks for allowing me the room to do this.
I want to start by saying that I am very lucky. I have a great family and a great day job. If you didn't know I develop web/mobile applications for a company called Zeal. It is a small but amazing Oregon based consultancy with the knack of hiring smart empathetic people. It is because of them that this story came to pass.
For the past few years I have gone out of my way to make people I don't know happy at Christmas. It started with extra large tips around this time of year and progressed to random acts of kindness. Sometimes face to face sometimes from further away. Each year is themed to something, this year was themed to bringing joy to those in public service. I reached out to Meter Readers, School Teachers, Post Office workers, Recycling Center people in our local community. Some with cash, some with gift cards, some with gifts.
The reason this year was different was two fold. First Zeal did a 12 days of Christmas where we got different types of gifts for 12 days. It was amazing. One of those days was the gift of giving, and very much in theme with what I do every year. The second reason this year was different is because my oldest, who is 11, was starting to question his belief in Santa.
I am super devious and could probably have kept the magic alive longer, but it was definitely time. It was in relation to this gift-giving idea that a co-worker posted something about transitioning your kids. It talks about making everyone Santa and that your kid has shown he/she is ready to be Santa. Using this format I had a talk with my son. He took things very well.
I told him about my gift giving related to people in public service and he choose to do something for the Fire Fighters of our town. On the way back from the dinner we had, we stopped by a local toy store that happened to have a huge stuff plush Dalmatian dog. He spotted and picked it out. Then he wrote the following note and put it with the dog:
To: Fire Fighters
You risk your lives to protect others. This Dalmatian will watch over you and needs a name. Thank you for your service.
We then wrapped the dog in a large clear plastic bag and snuck up to the Fire Station and put him by the front door. My son had the biggest smile on his face. He is ready to head back there and look for the Dog to see where they put it.
I thought this was a wonderful story worth sharing to a broader audience. My younger son, 9 , still believes, but at some point me and my older son will sit him down and help him become Santa, and I am so looking forward to it instead of dreading it. So thanks to Zeal for being an awesome company and community, and thanks to all those Santa's out there making our world that much more magical.
* Picture is of my son from our talk when I said he was going to be Santa