It’s been a long time since I’ve written you a letter. I’ve been thinking a lot about you and feeling a bit guilty. You see, I have two kids now and the threat of Santa’s naughty list comes in handy this time of year. I’m sure you hear that a lot.
When I was a kid, I heard a lot more talk about Santa Claus than about God. My parents were divorced and neither of them were particularly religious or spiritual people. The feeling I got was that God was the Country Club and we weren’t Country Club folk. So, while I knew that some people celebrated a holy season, we celebrated a sort of Christmas-Claus.
While hanging my stocking this year, a stocking that my Grandma made for me over 30 years ago, a flood of memories came back to me. I remember, of course, writing my yearly letter to you asking for a Baby Alive, new crayons and Barbie dolls. I remember discussing with friends how you managed to deliver presents to every child on earth in one night. I puzzled over how you would get my presents to me when I was at my mom’s house because she didn’t have a fireplace and what you would do at my dad’s house if he left the fire burning in his.
My fondest memory of you, Santa, is being able to talk to you about anything. It was such a relief that you knew all about me. I didn’t have to explain which parents’ house I would be at on Christmas Eve. I didn’t worry so much about the naughty list because you saw everything and understood the extenuating circumstances. I felt like you loved me and understood me. Although I didn’t know much about God, you were the next best thing. I bet a lot of kids felt that way and probably still do. Looking back on my childhood, I can see that God was always there and I don’t doubt that you shared all of my hopes and fears with Him, kind of like one of God’s angels. Thank you for that.
As my husband and I create our own traditions, we want to share the spiritual side of Christmas with our kids (ages 2 and 4). There’s a lot of talk in our house about baby Jesus and God’s immense love. We’re slowly exposing them to the different ways people celebrate this holy season and we do our best to answer their questions, like what’s a menorah, was baby Jesus cold in the manger and why can’t I have another candy cane?
While I never want my kids to think of you as a substitute for God, I want them to have happy memories of your jolly face. I admit that I’ve used you more as a threat than a blessing and that’s not how I remember you at all. From now on, there will be no more talk of the naughty list and only the joy, mystery and wonder of you. Merry Christmas, Santa.
P.S. This year my daughter wants a Baby Alive doll too!