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reading tiger

Santa's Helpers

(this is reposted from FB.)

OK. This is on the sentimental side. So sue me.

Folks, Santa is an important figure in our family mythology. Some of you know that we're related to the guy (well, one of the guys) who modeled for painter Haddon Sundblom as the Coca-Cola Santa. As a result, Santa paraphernalia was all over the house when I was growing up, and the Santa story was heavily promoted. From a very young age we knew that there were "Santa's Helpers" and our relative was one of them. This year, I more or less explained it to my children that it's like a uniform -- some people put on Santa suits so that you recognize them as helpers and you can tell them what you want for Christmas and they will tell Santa for you, etc.

This is one reason why it was so hard to contemplate a Christmas without presents for the kids. I'd like to think that I am not a particularly materialistic person but my children are five and embedded in this culture that sends messages about material gain linked to "goodness" (a part of the Santa story that I most definitely do not personally push) and lack of same to "badness."

Thus. Everyone who has helped out this month -- materially or spiritually, because believe me, the spiritual support has been key too -- is now officially deputized as a Santa's Helper. I will try to get it together to send out personal messages but it's not my strong point; nonetheless, I am thinking of all of you, all the time. Every time one of the kids picks up a puppet, or snuggles those slinky cats, or colors with a set of metallic pens. When April caresses those Pink Pearl erasers. When Simone arranges the little plastic lobster, crab, and eel in a row on the couch. When they dress and undress the Barbies and their fabulous hair, when they take such time and care assembling the My Little Pony palace. When they laugh play "superhero and supervillian" once again, inspired by the new stories they've read.

When I open up the fridge and I see the food people have provided, directly or indirectly. When I read my e-mail and Facebook messages overflowing with well wishes, job leads, and just plain friendship and good thoughts.

I want to send every one of you a little Santa hat. You never know. It might take years. I might sneak up on you. But if I do, wear it proudly.

Merry (post-)Christmas.