It’s that time of year again. The veterans are all snuggled and warm in their beds, and we can now turn our attention to the upcoming Holiday season.
I saw the elves at the mall yesterday, busily assembling your seasonal village, making it all festive and welcoming to the children who watched wide-eyed with anticipation dripping from their smiling faces. Soon they will get to meet you in person and tell you all about how good they’ve been this year, and how they can be rewarded. Between you and me, some of them little buggers go to great lengths to dress up the real truth, don’t they? But, you know otherwise. Those gosh-darned sweet, innocent children, will terrorize the line-up, sometimes for hours, until their turn comes. In one swift movement, little monsters morph into angelic little cherubs, all pink-cheeked and wondrous, and advance to that golden throne that is your knee. You greet each one with a smile, a Merry Christmas, a candy cane, and a neat little coloring book. It’s all about getting things, right…
I’ve got to hand it to you Santa. You’ve held out longer than I would have. Don’t get me wrong; you’ve been a big part of my Holiday season for 42 years; and I appreciate every single one of them. But the time has come to say “good-bye”. You’ve done your time. You deserve a rest. I advise you to do it now, before your reputation is tarnished evermore.
You see, Santa, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. The Christmas’s that I long for are not the Christmas’s of late; not at all. Despite your best efforts, Santa, Christmas has taken on a life of its own; one with peace and goodwill crammed into the background to make way for selfishness, entitlement, alienation, division, outdoing thy neighbors, bickering… everything but peace and goodwill.
As you probably know, Santa, there are people out there who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. To them Christmas has become a vehicle to promote ego and separation. As they sip through greasy smirks, from their hateful cups; beady eyes scanning the masses for response and validation; they promote a Holiday that has nothing to do with peace and goodwill. To them, Christmas is about being right and using the proper words. It’s about doing what they say, or they’re going to run and tell Mommy because you are persecuting them. It’s about staking a claim on a day that symbolizes a message that they know nothing about, and certainly spend the other 364 days of the year ignoring.
It’s about line-ups and fighting for the newest toy craze. It’s about some people having so much, and others having so little. Tell me Santa, how do we explain to the children that some kids were just nicer than they were this year?
It’s about that attitude that you can’t tell me how, or if, I should celebrate Christmas. To say “Happy Holidays” to some would be the equivalent of spitting in their face.
Where do Muslims, or Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhists fit into Christmas? What about atheists? If they celebrate in a different way, or not at all, should they be excluded from any extension of good will? And if they are included, should we expect a backlash for assuming that they would welcome our warm greetings? How do we determine who celebrates what if we meet up with them on the street, or in the line-up at Starbucks? How can we possibly straighten this out so as not to offend anybody?
Santa, do you bring gifts to gay children? There are those who say they should be put to death; that they are the cause of horrible things that happen in the world. Not the children, of course; just the ones you can’t pray the gay out of. Should we include them in our Holiday joy?
After all that you do to provide the good people of the world with Christmas joy, it is only days afterward that they’re out exchanging thoughtful gifts for what they actually want, and buying more. More! We have to have more. And the shops will accommodate; dropping prices drastically so that thing we bought one week earlier now costs 50% less. Forget about those people who scraped and scrounged for months to make somebody’s Christmas day. They love to pay full price for Christmas so they can watch with sick bellies as it is reduced to peanuts after the event has passed.
It just doesn’t feel right, you know? I’m torn. On the one hand it is such a wonderful feeling to see the look of joy on my children’s faces on Christmas morning. On the other hand this is nothing compared to the relief I feel that it is over again for another year! And even further from the feeling of disgust in the sales stickers just a few days after. And as the world settles back into its post-Christmas normalcy, the feeling that we are so out of touch with what really matters.
The true meaning of Christmas just flies over my head. I see it. It’s there. But our world does not accommodate the true meaning. You have to make a conscious effort to reach for it. And if you only grasp a thread of it, you have to hold on for dear life. I think this is what I need to do.
You’ve been such a tremendous guy, Santa! Really! In your day, you were all that! But our world has grown, (much like a bad weed), beyond that. Your gift, I am sad to say, is not enough anymore. I release you from duty with one last wish; and because I know you’re super-cool, you won’t let me down:
Santa, I know you are a trooper, and despite my dismissal and the state of the world, you will continue to promote the spirit of Christmas. As you continue on your journey, would you spread a little extra magic among your gifts this year? The kind that makes people feel love, and long for peace… the kind that brings people together… the kind that seeps into the Holidays and spreads itself deep into the New Year…
And Santa, if you’re passing by and you’d like to stop in for some fine turkey and good conversation, or maybe a cup of tea and some yummy cookies, know that my door is always open for you.
You’re a good man Santa. And though I’ve grown, and no longer need you; I’ll never forget you.
With Love and Fond Memories,