It’s that time of year again. The one where I stress that someone is going to tell one of my children some kind of foolishness.
Ridiculous stuff. Preposterous.
Like they don’t believe.
This is something I really do stress over. I mean, here’s the deal. My Mama told me if you ever stop believing, *whispering* He. Stops. Coming.
*gasp* No. Just no.
So I believe. And he has always come. Ask my oldest, in her first year at college, she knows. She believes because she doesn’t want to miss out on all of the fun.
I love the magic of Santa, Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Father Christmas. I love dreaming and wishing and hoping. I love finding joy in what he does bring and being okay with what he doesn’t. Really okay. That’s life. But what I love most of all is that the kindness of Kris Kringle is that of someone who does for others never expecting anything in return.
That right there.
That’s why I teach my children about Santa. And why I teach them to share as he does, to do for others who may never know their names and without looking for a gift in return. I think that is the beauty of the season.
The laughter and joy of planning the perfect gift. So much fun. Over the years I have had living examples of Santa’s giving. My Great Aunt Hattie was one who gave freely and with love. She wrapped up a purse filled with lipstick and perfume samples. She made doll dresses and stuffed Raggedy Anns and Andy’s and Bugs Bunnies and a beautiful cat named Sylvia I still have. And so many others. She gave us a Whitman’s Sampler every year and sheets for our beds and dishtowels for Mama and bandanas for Daddy. I don’t remember much of what we gave her as gifts. I know it couldn’t have been much. We always wrote thank you’s but I know she gave from her heart because she loved us and expected nothing in return. That’s real love and giving in the spirit of Saint Nicholas.
Over my adult years there has been even more Christmas magic. My parents celebrated the Christmas of 1889 (or was it 1888) one hundred years later, with real socks as stockings, filled with nuts and candy and oranges and pennies. They wanted us to get it. And eventually we did.
The Christmas Eve before The Fella, Aub, and I moved to Japan ten days later, we arrived home after midnight service and there were three of Daddy’s socks (poor guy, probably always wondered why there was a spare) waiting with goodies for us from Santa’s elves, Biph and Muffy. I don’t exactly remember what was in them, but I remember wondering at how those elves got in my house. I still have the socks. (The elves had written on them.) The magic and love in that gift tickles me to this day. Turns out I may or may not be related to those crafty elves. I won’t say, but I still believe.
During the years I lived in Japan, I had the help of an angel named Joy who would go out and pick up something for my Mama and Daddy to be from me and drop it off on their back steps on Christmas Eve. I love her for that, and she proves there is a Santa, who loves and does without asking for anything in return. Because she never did. I will always love her for that, even if there weren’t hundreds of other reasons to love her. (Which there are.)
Santa’s magic brought my sisterfriend from New Jersey early to surprise me for our rehearsal dinner in the middle of December. There is no way I could ever thank her enough or pay her back for that. That’s how she loves too–freely and dearly.
I hope to continue the traditions started by my precious Aunt Hattie, “you know?,” and by the Christmas Spirit of 1888 (or ’89) and by Biph and Muffy. I want my children to know what it’s like to be loved by someone who gives and doesn’t ask for a thing in return, and Santa is a pretty good person to start with. But I hope their lives will be filled with sisterfriends and brotherfriends and family and elves who will continue to love in that magical way. I want them to feel the Light in the midst of the darkness of winter, especially this winter, their first without that elf named Maemae for whom Christmas morning always put a twinkle in her eye. I want them to know what it’s like to be loved by someone they may never meet in person. And to know the value of saying a simple “thank you” and accepting what is given.
I believe in the magic inside each of us that has us loving on other folks, even when it doesn’t make sense–whether they’re naughty or nice. I believe in the magic that has little children watching and listening for the sounds of an elf scampering through the house or for the sound of jingle bells on Christmas Eve–holding their eyes open wide until they just can’t anymore and they fall asleep filled with magical thoughts of the morning.
So much of the real stuff of life is hard. That’s why I want the magic, the good, the love, the light, the laughter and joy to be REAL for them too. And I am thankful for Santa, who makes all of those things a little more real for all of us.
Thank you Santa. Merry Christmas. Tonight I am thankful for you and for the two folks who brought your magic to life for me and never let me stop believing in the good of people, the magic of laughter, and the joy of giving. Safe journeys, Sir, and much love. I’ll leave the light on for you. And oh, I won’t forget your Swedish gingersnaps and bottle of Coca-Cola either. Maybe you’ll have time to sit and watch a Hallmark movie or two with me that night? Love you Santa. Always.
**Two of my favorite Santa/Father Christmas books I’ve found in the past few years:
Santa and Pete by Christopher Moore and Pamela Johnson–a wonderful story and there’s a movie too though I haven’t watched it yet. http://www.amazon.com/Santa-Pete-Novel-Christmas-Present/dp/0684854953/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1386046517&sr=8-3&keywords=santa+and+pete
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien (yes, same one!) Absolutely delightful letters Mr. Tolkien saved that Father Christmas sent from the North Pole. We love reading these as a family. We are especially fond of the mischievous North Polar Bear. Such wonderful stories from a magical writer–Father Christmas himself. http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Father-Christmas-J-R-R-Tolkien/dp/0618512659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386046629&sr=8-1&keywords=letters+from+father+christmas
What are your favorites?