We never participated in the whole Santa thing. Before I was eleven, we didn’t even participate in Christmas.
It’s not that my parents were against the idea of a former priest asking little kids to sit on his lap, spying on them all year and then intruding into their houses while they are sleeping. Enforcing slave labor on certain ethnically short people isn’t the prevailing concern either. There was simply a cloud of suspicion on the character himself, and perhaps the entire pagan holiday he represents. It’s worth noting that a rearranged version of his name spells Satan. Think about that for a second. Perhaps the only gift the magical bearded fat man can give you is a curse.
When I had children of my own, I didn’t teach them that there was any such thing as Santa either. Mainly just because I wanted the credit for the gifts I had purchased, but not just that. I also didn’t want to have an awkward conversation when they start probing a little bit more. I imagine I’d be saying “Okay fine, you’re right, there’s no Santa, but don’t worry, I promise I wasn’t lying about all the other things, like God, the importance of learning algebra and that swallowing gum takes seven years to digest.”
While I haven’t participated in traditional holiday fantasies myself, they are still filled with glee. That’s because we wait all year to give graciously to that very special someone – the random coworker in the office that you get in the drawing for the gift exchange. It’s a really tender moment when you are able to lift someone’s spirit by giving a gift they will always remember (but please stay under a maximum budget of $25).
This year, like ever before, I was ready for yet another Christmas, without any magic and without any Santa. Then this week, I was greeted by a comment in my inbox on an article I wrote about making the perfect old fashioned cocktail
Thanks for sharing your writing. You were recommended by the Bloggess (Jenny) Lawson. Keep it coming.
Love the old fashioned recipe. I was not put off by the gentle scolding tone. Never had one. Some family members drink these. I will pass your instructions on.
I wish I had money to send to pay you for your work. I will continue to tip heavily to people I meet in person in your honor…wait staff, artists, musicians.
Enjoy your holiday.
My heart was immediately warmed. Actually, since I was drinking an old fashioned at that very time, my entire body felt kind of warm. I was especially moved by the comment about not being offended by my chiding tone. It’s nice to be identified as ‘offensive, but not to me’ from time to time.
I responded that same day with the following comment.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing! The tone was only meant to communicate how seriously I take the process of making an old fashioned. Thank you for understanding! 🙂
Don’t worry about sending me money, although I do enjoy money when I’m able to get my hands on some. If you’d like to support me, consider signing up for my newsletter, which is 100% free. Still do please tip your wait staff, musicians and artists as much as you feel comfortable parting with. I know they will appreciate being recognized for the ways they enrich our lives with their work.
Have a great week!
Mary had the right idea. She wanted to honor work that she appreciated, but in the absence of a way to pay for it directly, she decided to pass it on to others. I thought, if only for the next couple weeks while Mary remembers that she posted this comment, she will be giving the gift of financial recognition to people that provide some of the things that make our lives full. In a way, I just tipped some street corner guitar player in Cleveland or wherever Mary is from.
This is when I realized – there is in fact a Santa Clause, and it is you and me.
Every time we give somebody the gift of recognition, an act of kindness, or a little cash to say “thanks for the work you do” we are sharing the Christmas Spirit. This is truly the memory of Old Saint Nick, even the fantasies that come with it coming alive in our everyday lives. If only we could all have just a little bit more Mary. If only we could BE a little more Mary.
If you’ve received a gift of someone giving you their best; art, a great story, thoughtful customer service, whatever it may be, be like Mary. Be your own Mary incarnate.
Thank you everyone for reading and sharing. Please pass on the kindness. Give the gift of a Mary Christmas.
Happy Holidays to everyone.