What was on your Christmas list this year?
By Cindi Shroyer, Pine Bluffs Post
In each of the past 10 Christmas seasons I have had the pleasure to get letters to Santa Claus ready for print in whatever newspaper I happened to be working in. This year is no different. This is a task for which there is no equal. We give children who are in third grade or younger the chance to have Santa read their letters in the paper. And boy do we get some interesting letters.
My friend and former co-worker, Patty, shared this about Santa letters:
“I always enjoyed the Santa letters which included requests for siblings not just the writer. The spelling always makes me laugh.”
Spelling indeed! We can tell when teachers have aided the cause by putting certain Christmas-related words on the board for their young charges to copy down. The usual suspects are Rudolph, reindeer, sleigh, chimney, presents and the names of the other reindeer in Santa’s stable.
We can also tell what hot topics have come up at recess by what is requested. One whole class asked for the same electronic thingamajig one year. A coveted item, that.
There are some differences in regions. In Ohio, we had lots of dolls and toys and electronic gadgets of all sorts. In Wyoming, we have bridles and boots and new trucks and tractors (the real ones!), a horse (and they mean it!). Chaps and a matching vest was carefully requested this year, not something I would have seen in the east.
There are personal requests made that allow us to see into the hearts and homes of these little folk. “Please mak my dad better.”
“Can my mom come home dis year?”
“Grandma died. Can you til her hi for me?”
“I got a new bruder. Can you take him with you? I will lev him undr the tree.”
“Can you bring me a pnot buder samich? I didn’t eat sence a long time.”
We have made calls to teachers and principals to make sure these children’s needs are being addressed. I have to say I have never had a child lie in a letter to Santa. They lay their lives bare for this man who, for one night a year, make all things well and good.
Reading their letters always get me to thinking about what I want. We hear that song “Grown-up Christmas List” on the radio each year now. The song goes like this:
“Do you remember me/I sat upon your knee/I wrote to you/With childhood fantasies.”
Well, I’m all grown up now/And still need help somehow/I’m not a child/But my heart still can dream/So here’s my lifelong wish/My grown up Christmas list/Not for myself/But for a world in need”
“No more lives torn apart/That wars would never start/and wars would never start/And time would heal all hearts/And everyone would have a friend/And right would always win/And love would never end/This is my grown up christmas list.”
Pretty simple, right? I want … everything to be perfect. Not gonna happen, no matter how hard we wish for Santa to bring that little gift to us.
In the spirit of Santa letters I asked some friends to chip in and share their grown-up lists. The above-mentioned friend Patty said, “On my wish list this year are a mild winter to save heating costs, and lots of purse sales in my Etsy shop!”
Another friend (who shall remain nameless!) would like a cruise named “Tom”!
“For me, I have asked for scarves/wraps since I am old and need extra warmth around my neck. ) Coffees and teas as always and gift cards for emergencies,” my friend Rachel said. “I have everything I need, and my prayer is that I can keep this job until the Discover bill is paid off!
Lisa wants an iPad (also a common request in this years Santa letters). Dan wants enough money to cover a planned mission trip to Haiti this spring.
“Other than seeing my kids happy on Christmas morning, if I had to pick something just for myself, I’d want a day to myself with a nice bubble bath, a body rub, and maybe getting my hair done,” Ruthie shared.
I have some material things on my list. New lotion and soap from Bath and Body Works, some spending cash for my trip to Texas, a new computer (mine is really ready to crap out on me), some new clothes, paid off bills. I would also like to be healthy, happy, and remember to look for joy and blessings in every situation. I would like to continue to do well in college.
Don’t our minds drift automatically to the here and now and the future when we begin making wishes? We do think of others too. I have family and friends who have great physical, financial, emotional and spiritual needs. I want them to have what they need and want. And going back to that song — I would like to see lives not torn apart, no more war, friends all around. Who wouldn’t?
But do we ever just dwell on the true need that presents itself at Christmas? My spiritual brother and dearly loved friend Jon did and does.
“At the VERY TOP of my grown-up Christmas list is that EVERYBODY would come to the understanding that Christmas is REALLY about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who was sent to teach us about God, the relationship we can have with God and, who ultimately, gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins,” Jon gave as his response. “There is NO greater gift that has been offered than salvation through Christ.”
“Yet … SO-O-O many people REFUSE to accept it, “even though it is the “ONLY “PERFECT “GIFT.”
Gotta just sigh here. Wrap my head and heart around that one. Ask myself why that wasn’t the first thing on MY list. Bet you’re wondering the same thing — at least I hope you are.
Merry Christmas, dear friends! May you all come to know the Christ of Christmas this year. He is the only gift we need.