, Salem, MA


December 19, 2012

Column: Getting back to the basics of Santa


Let’s get back to the basics of Santa. He isn’t perfect, nor does he expect children to be. He’s overweight, loves cookies, smokes a pipe, doesn’t keep a normal schedule, and sometimes stays up all night doing things he likes. Even though he has a normally jolly nature, he also gets tired and annoyed, especially when others are naughty. He likes for children to think about what they would like, prioritize a list and then compose a letter, using good writing skills, in which they ask him for a small number of things that he could consider.

It doesn’t mean that if you ask for something you’re going to get it. Santa can’t possibly bring all the requested items. He may have ideas of what he thinks would be better gifts for us. Realistically, he can only fit a few items for every child on his sleigh, as it is quite small. Historically, he delivered his gifts into children’s stockings, which were never very big. He took a lead from his associate, St. Nick, who delivered a bit of gold, sweets, toys, and desirable trinkets into stockings.

Santa is not supposed to give many or big expensive items. What he brings is home-made by him or by elves who spend long hours crafting presents that they hope each child will appreciate. While he and the elves work, they think carefully about those who will receive the gifts. Santa delivers his presents when no one sees, reminding us that giving without expectation is honorable. He expects children to be good for goodness sake, since giving to others is an act of joy and selflessness is something that no one else ever needs to know about. He gives to others to make them happy, not because he anticipates getting something in return.

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