Talking to Santa

It’s the time of year that children everywhere are making a list of their favorite toys. I remember when my children were young, making the wish list each year and finding Santa to share the special items on the list. The trip to inform Santa what they wanted was always met with great anticipation by my daughter, but not with my son. He didn’t care who brought him the great toys, he was not going to sit on anyone’s lap that had a big beard, red suit, and said “ho-ho-ho.” No amount of bribes could entice him to go near the big fellow, so the picture each year featured a mothers arm and a little boy at arm’s length from Santa, and the face was not that of a happy child.

Later, when my grandson was little, he would go see Santa at Dollywood each year and, without fail, he would recite all the many things he wanted for Christmas. When his time came to speak to Santa, he eagerly went forward, climbed on his lap, and was ready to go over his long list. When Santa asked what he wanted for Christmas, he said “a ball.” When asked for more, the stage struck child simply repeated, “a ball.” With nothing else to add, he said goodbye to Santa and got down. Now, you must know, he had many balls, and that was not on his original list. When asked why he did not give his list of toys to Santa, he replied that Santa would know, and if he didn’t, then his grandmother would get them! My granddaughter followed in her father’s footsteps, needing bribes and looking very unhappy. She preferred to see Santa at a distance. Quite honestly, my preference for Santa was to look, but not touch, when I was a child. There was always something just a little frightening about “jolly ole Saint Nicholas.” I was always glad *not* to encounter him at my house on Christmas Eve.

It is interesting to watch the faces and actions of all the children approaching Santa to give their list of wanted toys. There is always a variety of emotions on display. Some children seem eager and happy to be on Santa’s lap. A number of children are hesitant and cautiously approach the Christmas icon. And, there are those being bribed for the yearly picture with Santa. We (parents) keep them as golden treasures, regardless of the child’s demeanor. We collect them and relive the event year after year. And, even though they may have needed bribes as a child, as a parent they keep the tradition. This time it is an enjoyable adventure, no matter what their child thinks. It is, after all, their parental right!

Source: K. P. Guessen