Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa's Assistants

As I've blogged before, December has never been the best month for me. Honestly, I'd just assume skip over December all together. That way, I wouldn't have to stew in my grinchitized state until the New Year arrived and resolve to lapse on my resolutions like the rest of the population. At one point, I got to be so bah-humbuggish that my mother asked me if I had ANY good memories of Christmas. I told her I did, but the bad memories were so huge that they overtook the good memories in my mind for the time being. I wasn't mad at anyone, it's just how I felt about Christmas.

In order to avoid those angry feelings again (or at least lessen them), I intend to write a few good Christmas memories during December. So, without further delay,  here's "Navidad Historia NĂºmero Uno":
……

One Christmas Eve, once we got home from our a traditional spaghetti dinner at Grandma Miller's house, we put out "angel cookies" and a birthday card for Jesus, "Santa Cookies" and carrots for Santa and his reindeer and tenderly placed our letters to Santa in our stocking where we knew he wouldn't miss them.

Like any other child worth their salt on Christmas Eve, we delayed our bedtime for as long as humanly possible. Extended bedtime stories, bathroom breaks, extra prayers and giggly pretending to sleep in the hopes that we'd get a glimpse of the chubby fella with the beard full of cookie crumbs. And then the light threats came:

"If you don't go to sleep Santa won't come, remember?" Mom said with a firm and factual tone.

I looked at my mother like she'd farted in church and thought to myself "Crap, that's right! He's got that sixth sense thing that only moms, animals and the Tooth Fairy have. FINE! I'll go to sleep!" And off to sleep I went, dreaming of…well…I dunno…Stuff little kids dream of. 

I awoke awhile later to a strange rustling coming from the living room. It scared the @#$% out of me until I realized it was probably Santa...which, when you think about it, is really messed up. Only on Christmas Eve do we feel like it's okay to let a weird old man in furry pajamas into our home. Any other day and it'd be a "stun gun and call the cops" type of situation. With that in mind, I mustered up the guts to peek around the corner, my plastic moulded triceratops held tightly in my grasp just in case it wasn't Santa. I'd used the triceratops on my sister a few days earlier, so I knew it could cause damage to a human if necessary. 

Sure enough, it wasn't Santa…It was my Mom and Dad. 

They must have heard the noise before me, so they'd come to check on the situation. There was Dad, examining what Santa brought me: A Castle GraySkull Playset and an Attack-Trak assault vehicle for my He-Man collection. He was pacing around it, making sure it was put together just right. Then he put fresh batteries in the Attack Trak…something Santa must have overlooked in his haste to stay on schedule. I'm sure Dad inspected Angie's toys too, but I couldn't be bothered to pay attention to that stuff. Girl toys were dumb. I'm sure Santa got her something good, though. 


I saw Mom taking a bite from one of the left over cookies Santa had half eaten. She knew Santa was probably full of cookies by the end of the night and she didn't want us to be disappointed. 

(Joshland Note: I've often wondered: Is Santa diabetic or do you think he's magically immune to insulin dependency?)

While I was watching my parents, I realized they were helping Santa do his job the best he could. It's something that I imagined lots of other parents and loved ones did that night too, making Christmas morning perfect for the kids in their family. A warm fuzzy feeling filled my heart as I ran back to my bed, giddy with anticipation for the butt crack of dawn when I could play with my toys and spend time with my family. The moment the sun shone through my window later that Christmas morning, I leapt out of bed, fell face first on the floor, cried for a minute and then sucked it up so I could head to the living room. With tears of pain and joy on my face, I opened the drawbridge of Castle Grayskull pushing my well-worn He-Man action figure through the door and into my imagination.

Angie joined me a short time later to play with her whatchamacallit girly toy, followed by my sloth-like parents. They were smiling ear to ear, Mom clinching her coffee and Dad nodding off in the corner of the couch. They looked exhausted as if they'd been working all night to prepare some kind of big to-do, but I knew better. I knew they helped a little bit and I was grateful, but Santa did all the work and Jesus kept him safe. Both working together to share the spirit of Christmas. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, had pancakes for breakfast,  and spent time together as a family giving lots of hugs and kisses and being thankful for everything that we had in our lives.
……

Little did I know how different our lives would become a few years later. Once I started writing this story, I was amazed at how vividly everything popped into my head and how precious that memory is to me.

As an adult who participates in both the religious meaning of Christmas and the traditions of Santa Claus, I can tell you they've influenced who I am. For every "Santa Claus is Comin' To Town" there was a "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". For every Christmas cookie there was a prayer. For every stocking on the fireplace there were statues of wise men bearing gifts and a little baby in a manger. Both are people who we cannot see, but do things with great love in their hearts. God represents love, forgiveness, compassion and acceptance...things I believe in to my very core. Santa Claus is a wonderful example of generosity and giving without the need for reciprocation or acknowledgement…again, things I believe in to my very core. 

Whether you're religious or not, the meaning Christmas is always within your power. It is love, generosity and goodwill to all. How can that be wrong? 

Peaceful Things,

Josh

P.S. - Speaking of the spirit of season…

There's a 9 year old little boy named Dalton DIngus in Kentucky that needs a little extra love this Christmas. He's been sent home from the hospital early this year because he's in the end stages of his life with cystic fibrosis. His Christmas wish is to get a ton of Christmas cards. His friends and family want to make his dream come true and he's currently at 15,000+. It'll take a moment of your day to make this little guy smile forever. Here's the address, the rest is up to you. Send your amazing and happy cards to: 

Dalton Dingus HC 

62 Box 1249 
Salyersville, KY 41465

For those of you questioning if it's a hoax, it's not. He's been on Fox news in Kentucky and the local fire department shared a picture with him on their Facebook page. Besides the fact that it's a flippin' card and you're out a few bucks, a little creativity and a stamp. I think it's worth the risk.


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