Lawrence, KS – Sometimes childhood ideals extend to adult life. At least that’s the case with Marlene Johnson, 34, of Lawrence, Kansas.
“Santa Claus will return to my life someday. I have faith in that.”
Johnson isn’t the only adult to believe in the existence of Santa Claus. A growing number of Americans are not leaving Santa under the tree when they move out of their parents’ homes and begin lives on their own. Each follower was forsaken by Santa Claus, usually between his/her tenth and fifteenth birthdays. Each follower has learned to deal with this fact in his/her own way.
Kim Pitts of Bristol, Tennessee, heads the Santa Claus Association of American Transcendentalists, or SCAAT. She notes that Santa’s followers require no more proof than “the smiling faces of girls and boys across this country every Christmas morning.” When asked if her children received gifts from Santa for the holidays, Pitts was curt.
“No. True believers are always tested. This is how Santa would have it.”
SCAAT is currently lobbying numerous state legislatures and school boards to include the teachings of Santa Claus in the classroom. The leaders of the organization are as yet unsure about where Santa education belongs in the public education system. Rumors around the organization suspect the lobbyists are targeting music, industrial and business classes.
Teaching Santa Claus in business classes appears to be a particularly great idea in the mind of Joy Stockworth, a 20-year member of SCAAT.
“Santa Claus uses a business model that no business in America has attempted to implement. The concept of making all products from scratch using elf labor has simply not caught on, and that’s a shame. Santa has proven the model over many years. In the global marketplace that the world is today, it seems like America is missing a golden opportunity to emulate the most efficient manufacturing and delivery service known to man.”
When pressed, Stockworth does admit that Santa Claus “may have cornered the market of unpaid elfin laborers.”
Most believers must deal with doubts about Santa Claus. Strangers, peers, and family will often mock their belief system. Keith Schmidt, a Casper, Wyoming, native, is candid when discussing the times of trial he underwent on his road to discovering Santa Claus’ true story.
“I had pretty much given up on the idea of Santa Claus by the time I was eleven. His gifts were getting less and less plentiful. My parents were making statements that I know now to be blasphemous. Just different hints about Santa not existing. I even caught my dad pretending to be Santa.”
Ultimately, worshipping Santa Claus is a very personal experience. Most SCAAT members mark their transmogrification into believers with touchstone events as children. Many kids in America grow up with a belief in Santa Claus, but special experiences cause SCAAT followers to move to another plane of belief. Johnson notes the moment she was reborn as a lifelong Santa follower.
“My mom was going to a neighbor’s house to have coffee, so I tagged along with her. There was an amazing picture of Santa on the wall. When I moved left, his eyes followed me. When I moved right, his eyes followed me. Even when I jumped up and down his eyes followed me. Santa was right there with me, comforting me and wishing me a ‘Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!’”
“He was watching me! Santa Claus was watching me!”