There really is a Santa Claus
As Christmas carols begin to fill supermarket aisles, colourful decorations are dusted off and festive celebrations are planned, it’s that time of year when I fondly recall my favourite childhood Christmas memories.
Memories of stealing away behind my mother’s old wooden dresser where she thought she had carefully and secretly hidden the Christmas presents she had bought for my sister and me. The excitement of what December 25th would bring was just too much for the curiosity of this wide eyed and intrepid youngster to handle.
Oh, the sheer thrill of carefully and quietly as a church mouse prizing open the little white boxes was almost too much for me to bear! Unwrapping the tissue paper and remembering fold upon fold so I could carefully restore the pack back to its pristine state caused my heart to pound in anticipation.
Before too long my dexterity was rewarded, for nestled in the palm of my hand was my soon to be ‘legal’ treasure – a small plastic toy sheep. Holding it up to the rays of light that too had braved to enter that forbidden place, turning it over like it was the most prized object in human history saw my jaw drop in utter awe – my world was complete.
Complete that was until I saw the other small boxes beckoning and I, repeating the euphoric motions again and again, soon saw my palm become bejewelled with a plethora of other farm animals.
And then I remember the heart stoping terror as I heard my mother’s footsteps coming into the room. I froze praying to the deity ‘who looked kindly upon naughty children’ that my mother would not notice a small child amongst the packages and Christmas wrap behind her dresser.
To this day I will never know if the deity came through or my mother simply chose not to spoil my moment of bliss as she soon exited the room as if on another mission. For whatever good fortune I was granted in that moment, I remain forever thankful. However, from knowing of my mother’s kindness I strongly feel the case was probably the latter.
I guess it was then in some reciprocal kind of way that when December 25th did eventually roll around and I raced to the Christmas tree to open my presents, although somewhat surprised to read the tag on all my little boxes that read ‘To Pam love Santa,’ I never let on.
Although coming to the realisation that there is no Santa is a rite of passage in our youth, the notion that there exists a jolly fat chap in a red suit, aided by nine magical reindeer spreading good and selfless cheer is something to take great comfort in.
Believing in Santa has so many positive befits, it connects us to strangers, gives us hope things will be better, unites communities and moreover it makes us feel good about the world.
And then of course there is the old adage that kindness begets kindness. In fact, believing in Santa Claus is a great place to dwell when the world appears bleak and hope is not springing eternal.
And now, with snowflake fringed thoughts of Santa sledding through my head, I recall one of my favourite episodes of M*A*S*H in which the inimitable Hawkeye and Trapper invent a fictitious ‘Captain Jonathan Tuttle’ as the do-gooder of kind deeds.
However, when the gig is almost up and the need to produce Captain Tuttle is imminent, the hapless Tuttle is killed off in a fabricated helicopter accident.
Hawkeye in delivering the eulogy gave some inkling into his belief that goodness and selflessness lies with us all when he said, “We can all be comforted by the fact that he’s not really gone, that there’s a little Tuttle left in all of us. In fact, you might say that all of us together made up Tuttle.”
In this spirit, it is my great hope that there indeed exists a little Santa within us all. And what better time for it to shine through than now as we act to extend our kindness and mercy to all. And wouldn’t it be grand if all farm animals got to lead the, long, happy and much cherished lives my plastic friends did all those years ago.