An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

By John Pierce

At age 5, our daughter Abigail noticed the varied personifications of Santa spread among the malls and other venues of metro Atlanta. She was unconvinced of his omnipresence — and was suspicous that not everything was on the up-and-up.

Recently I came across her insightful explanation, that I had recorded, of how to tell the real one from the many fill-ins.

“If he has brown hair on his arms, Velcro on his beard, and a pillow on his tummy instead of real skin, he’s not the real Santa,” she explained.

Learning to discern that which is authentic from that which is fake can be very, very helpful in all areas of life — during this season and throughout the year.

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