Children's letters to Santa
I always look forward to the Christmas edition of the bi-weekly newspaper in our little southern, rural town (pop 8500 and home to an orphanage). The paper publishes local children's letters to Santa. I enjoy reading through these letters and even like looking at all the festive advertisements from local merchants, wishing us a Merry Christmas.
I am in awe of all the time, care, work, and expense that goes into these letters, on the part of the children, their teachers, parents, aides, volunteers, the newspaper staff (the one, lone editorial assistant must type them all into the computer), and local advertisers, none of whom are doing very well in this economy.
Most of the letters sound cute and amusing to the ears of grown up readers, although many of them (too many) show their authors' need for major remedial work in spelling. About half the children waste no time in getting right to the point and giving Santa their list, yet several of the letter writers are extraordinarily polite, and preface their requests with concern for the well-being of Santa and Mrs. Claus. The majority of children assure Santa they have been very good, or at least tried very hard to be good, and one honest little boy says he is good at school, but doesn't know about home.
Although there are lots of requests for Barbies and BB guns, as well as a notable number of little boys who want real guns so they can go hunting with their dads, a remarkable number of children are quite sophisticated and techno-savvy and ask for iPhones, computers, and other kinds of fancy electronics that I'd never heard of till now. Many of the children thoughtfully ask Santa to bring their parents something, too, while a few children ask Santa for the seeming impossible: to bring them parents, either a Dad or a Mom will be "enough." Reading these letters and the letters from the children who ask Santa for something most of us take for granted, like a shirt, "only gently worn, please," break my heart and make me wish I could be the Real Santa, if only for a day.
One letter stood out this year for its surprise gift of unexpected laughter. The letter is from a young lady who says she has been very good and says she would like a Minnie Mouse kitchen set, clothes, shoes, toys, and money to buy more toys. She also says that her mommy and daddy have been pretty good and asks Santa if he could bring them "a little something."
and then there's her 'p.s.'...
"p.s.: Since I am scared of you, please just leave my presents by the back door."
The events of this year haven't done much to help me muster up the Christmas spirit, but for the hour I've spent with the hopes and dreams of these children, I am grateful.