Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dear Santa, Please ...

‘Tis the season to lament the commercialization of the Holidays.

Too many decorations. Too many stylish TV commercials suggesting a Lexus as the perfect gift for the wife that puts up with your nonsense all year. Too many presents. Too much food. Too, too much all-around greed that gets in the way of the things the holidays are meant to celebrate: love, togetherness, connections, hope, care …

And, there are the companions – the too littles: Too little charity, too little compassion, too little faith in the light of the human soul.

Yet every season, when I fear the Christmas Spirit has finally passed me by – when I think that the frenetic shopping, and the Black Friday orgies; the ten pound newspapers (9.6 lbs of ads, thank you paperboy! I won’t forget your bonus.); the grown women fighting over mall parking spaces; the miles of evergreen carcasses have finally killed Christmas – there comes a moment that resurrects the yuletide spirit in my soul.

Sometimes it’s a song on the radio. Sometimes it’s a quiet candle glowing in a window, or the moon shining blue on the snow. Maybe it’s Linus articulating, or George Bailey rediscovering the meaning of Christmas. Or, my new holiday favorite
Love Actually (I always tear up at the Portuguese restaurant scene). At that moment, in whatever form it comes, my soul literally opens up like a flower, and I remember:

“Oh! THIS is Christmas!”

This year, my moment came when CNN paused long enough in it’s coverage of the economic crises, with its stock markets and bailouts and holiday lay-offs to find another angle. It seems children are writing to Santa (the one who lives in the Post Office) to ask not for Wiis or the last Bratz® Dolls or games or balls or chartreuse cell phones.

No, they are writing something like this:

Dear Santa,

I am not writing for toys this year. My Dad lost his job. Do you think you could bring him a new one? We had to move in with my Grand Ma and Pop-Pop. If Dad gets a new job, we can move back into our house. That would be cool. Also, my baby sister needs diapers and wipes. My Mom needs medicine for her asthma, and I would like a new coat, because my old one is too small. My grandma makes good dinners, but needs more food for all of us. Hope that’s not too much to ask.

Love, Jilly

Memo to Santa: Jilly should get all that she wishes for this Christmas.


Lori Skoog said...

Fe....To my disgust, Christmas decorations went up in the local grocery store around Halloween. That is way to early for me. Thank God there is a balance with the letters like the one Jilly wrote. This is going to be a very humbling experience.

Anonymous said...

I have been having trouble getting into the season. Thanks for helping me. Everything you write gives me so much to think about.
Tina (DJ's mother)

CoyoteFe said...

Greetings, Lori!

More people, fewer things. Especially the things we get just to get SOMETHING. How did we get here? Let;s head back!

Halllooo, Tina!

DJ is FANTASTIC. You must be a good mother indeed! Thank you for reading and writing back. I think if we look through the lights and noise and crowds and nonsense, we will see all the beautiful relationship that make up the true meaning.

San said...

Every child should have what Jilly is wishing for. Every child in the world, naughty and nice.

My Christmas movie: Little Women. Technically not a Christmas movie, but for me, it does capture the spirit of the season. And always makes me cry cathartic tears.

CoyoteFe said...

San - I agree with you!

I think, by the sheer state of being a child, pure wishes should come true.

I am ashamed to say that I never read Little Women. I was a Little House on the Praire girl. Now I have to go find Little Women, and have a good cry!

rebecca said...

My daughter teaches in a poor district where both parents usually hold two or three jobs each just to make ends meet. These children come to school with the same clothes every day, siblings that share a hat or gloves...

And, each Christmas, when it is time for them to write their Dear Santa letter, they never ask for anything for themselves. They always ask for a little necklace or bracelet for their mothers or something for a little brother or sister...they never want anything personally, they just want something to be given to someone they love. And, these children, they can teach us so much; they can humble us to shame when we become greedy and full of want; and, they carry the true meaning of Christmas within.

This is Christmas. This is love.

CoyoteFe said...

Halloo - Rebecca!

Your daughter's experience reminds me of a news story last Christmas. An organization collected money to take children shopping for Christmas. They were to choose presents for themselves and their family. To a child, they wanted to spend all the money on their family members. That is why children are the heart of Christmas. I am grateful to your daughter for holding up the light!