We like to get our visit to Santa over early.
My children look forward to their annual visit to the magical vending machine, ready to drop in their golden behavior coin, and then wait for their one true selection to plop out of our fireplace on Christmas morning.
As can be the case with big purchases, we’ve experienced buyer’s remorse, where a better idea came along later, leading to angst and tears and letters to the North Pole and revisits. (Incidentally, Santa didn’t even remember the original visit and request, which was deemed highly suspicious.)
There have also been vendor shipping mistakes where the elves must have picked the order from the wrong bin, and the wrong item ended up under the tree. And sometimes, the item you wanted turns out to be something you really don’t want at all. Stuffed dogs with zipper mouths where you can store their babies or whose bodies morph into doghouses are better on TV than they are in person. Take my word.
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My son has moved on to a more grownup understanding of Santa. He understands the need to ask for items within reason, and upon being told that an Xbox was probably not a realistic request, he modified it to something more in Santa’s budget.
But my daughter, at 8 years old, still hopes for magic.
“What will you ask Santa for?” I asked.
“I haven’t decided yet. I have a few ideas, but I don’t know which one I want the most. I’d like a flying carpet, but it might be more fun to have a treehouse with a working fireplace. But my best idea is probably a robot to clean my room.”
Santa, did you hear that? (Do you read my column?) You’ve got your work cut out for you. My precious little girl expects you and wants you to bring a bit of your magic into our home. Magic for her to play with — to carry her high into the air (like your sleigh), to put her life (and dirty clothes) effortlessly in order. She wants a tiny home of her own where she can entertain her friends. Santa, she wants to be like you.
Perhaps it was the tone in my voice — a look on my face — that told her these things couldn’t be. She later told me she’d revised her order.
“I’ll just ask Santa for a robot dog,” she said. “He can get it at Target if he needs to.”
It must make Santa sad when children realize he’s not the Almighty and is limited in what he can do. Flying reindeer and an army of elves have their limitations.
Fortunately, when we peer deeper into Christmas, we find not limitations, but endless power and possibility. It’s not a vending machine, though. The gift is to all of us and comes with no strings, no golden behavior coin necessary.
As you enter into this holiday season, I urge you to remind yourself of the real meanings of Christmas. The kindness, the love, the joy, the promises, the presents that have no price tag. If you suddenly find yourself feeling very rich, then would you consider helping out poor ol’ Santa with some of those little ones who are looking to him?
For the magic to be real, it takes all of us. Santa, and me and you. Let’s seek out those little ones, and let’s let them know that they’re being watched over.
What is the meaning of the season? You have to ask yourself — the answer will be personal and your own. But once you know your answer, consider what you’re doing — and if you can do more to spread the magic.
Mom and freelancer Emily Parnell writes regularly for 816.