I Believe in Santa Claus
by Sarah Frances Moran

Santa Claus visited our house
every Christmas Eve.

The bells would jingle.
right in the middle
of the anticipation of possibility
that Rudolph was on the roof.

Dad was always away.
At the store — acquiring something he swore he’d forgot.
Miller lite, eggnog, ice.
We’d ask him to stay
and he’d go anyway…
Blowing off Mr. Claus.

Santa would enter with the usual Ho Ho Ho
asking us if we’d been good.
He was short and he was darker skinned.
He was nothing like Santa at the mall.

His hugs were phenomenal and
after photos, laughs and small gifts…
We’d received the beauty of the Christmas Spirit
and then he’d depart
on to make some other child smile.

Dad would return shortly after.
Sad that Santa had come and gone.

It took me years to realize
Santa wore the same wedding ring as my Dad,
smelled of the same cologne and alcohol breath.
It’s taken me even longer to recognize
the importance
of positive memories.

Negativity does nothing for the mind
and I know my father loves me.

Love trumps fear, hatred, shame and disappointment.
Love trumps everything.

I don’t believe in a lot.
My list of skepticism is long and complicated.
but, I believe in my father.
I believe in the power of Christmas,
and I believe in Santa Claus.

PHOTO: The author and Santa back in the day.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every year my father dressed up as Santa Claus for Christmas Eve.  He would make up some story about having forgotten something at the store.  He usually said he was going to get more beer.  When he was gone, without fail, Santa would arrive to greet us, give us a gift, and take photos with us.   Santa would leave and then Dad would get back and act upset that he’d missed Santa again.  This was every year.  This is my favorite memory of my father. As I’ve matured I realize the importance of finding the beautiful things about the people I love.  I can’t change what happened in the past, but I do have control over how I feel about him.  I can be angry, hurt, and ashamed or I can memorialize the beautiful things about him:  like this moment, this dedication to him, to Santa and to Christmas.

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Sarah Frances Moran
is a writer, editor, animal lover, videogamer, queer Latina. She thinks Chihuahuas should rule the world and prefers their company to people 90% of the time. Her work has most recently been published or is upcoming in The No Se Habla Espanol Anthology, Elephant Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Rust+Moth, Maudlin House, Blackheart Magazine, Red Fez and The Bitchin’ Kitsch. She is editor/founder of Yellow Chair Review. These days you can find her kayaking the Brazos in Waco, Texas, with her partner. You may reach her at