Via The Saturday Evening Post. Art by Norman Rockwell.
This morning, I was sitting in the Starbucks drive-thru, humming along with Christmas carols, and excitedly waiting for my eggnog latte. When I pulled up to pay for my coffee and pumpkin bread, the barista informed me that the person in front of me already bought my breakfast! That’s now happened to me twice in the last month! The difference this time from the last was that there was no one behind me to reciprocate the generosity…so I scored a totally free breakfast.
My first thought was that I must look really poor in my very old and very rundown car and people are taking pity on me. This actually might be true but I shrugged it off (commuter car..meh). My second thought was how could I pay the good deed forward? As if to answer my internal question, (we’re talking, like, true cosmic forces at work here people) the DJ on the radio started talking about a 15 year-old girl who saved up her babysitting money, went to K-Mart, and paid off a stranger’s lay-a-way for them. Can you believe that? Instead of dropping her earnings on some lame teenage fad, that sweet girl selflessly helped a neighbor this holiday in a truly unique way.
I’d like to tell you I didn’t choke up with tears when I heard this, but my current state of “crazy pregnant lady” has me crying at the drop of a Santa hat. So, after I wiped away the mascara streaming down my cheeks and caught my breath from sobbing, I realized that all this anonymous giving has confirmed a belief I’ve held on to since I was little kid….there is a Santa Claus.
There seems to be a lot of discussion on parenting blogs lately asking if it’s okay to “lie” to your children about Santa Claus. Given my affinity for elf culture, I am appalled at the idea of children growing up without ol’ St. Nick but, in a way, I can see where parents are coming from. However, today I realized we’re focusing on the wrong aspects of the mystery and excitement that is “Santa.”
Getting lots of toys and treats isn’t what Kris Kringle is all about. Trying to get children to behave to be rewarded with goodies doesn’t really capture the magic of Christmas either. When we think of Santa, we all envision the red suit, a white fluffy beard, and a jolly old soul. Flying reindeer and tiny, toy-making elves add to the mystery. But this wonderful imagery and warm-and-fuzzy idea doesn’t fully portray the essence of the Claus.
Santa is all about selflessly giving to others to spread hope and happiness. It’s that simple. So, with each anonymous, generous, and selfless gift we give our neighbors and those in need this season, we’re reinforcing and proving that the spirit of Santa Claus does exist.
So, I believe in Santa Claus. Do you?
If so, go be someone’s Santa today.