(Below is an edited version of a post from last season. It has the same message. And I am as passionate today about the message as when I first wrote it. It needed to be said again.)
I believe in Santa Claus.
I’m shocked when I meet someone who doesn’t.
Recently, I was perusing your blogs out there and I found not one, not two, but three blogs dedicating posts to the evils of Santa Claus.
Santa = Evil?!?
And there were comments, lots and lots of comments agreeing with them.
I was angry. I was outraged. I vowed never to read those blogs again. I started taking names to avoid reading the blogs of people agreeing with such blasphemy.
And then I stopped myself. Jane, I said to myself, You believe in God. You have friends who don’t. You read their blogs. You’re fine with their difference of opinion, faith and beliefs. You preach, “One mountain, many paths.” How can you completely disregard another blogger’s right to disagree with your belief in Santa Claus? How can ONE post nullify all the other posts you read by them and enjoyed?
So….reluctantly….because logic won with this internal struggle…..I re-bookmarked all three of those blogs and I tore up my McCarthy list.
But not without defending my stand!
When my daughter was about three-years-old a friend told me about a wonderful Santa that I absolutely must take her to. We did. He was elderly. (Of course) He had a genuine white beard and longer white hair. (Of course) He wore a red suit with shiny buttons and he sat out in his sleigh every night between Thanksgiving and December 23 (because he’s very busy on the 24th!) listening to children, finding out about their lives, helping them to narrow their lists (he only allowed 2 toys because his sleigh was only so big!) and chatted with the parents.
He must have had an eidetic memory. Through the years he would remember what school my daughter attended, her love of gymnastics, that she had a cat, even a few of the gifts he had brought her in the past. Before any of you start jumping up and down yelling, “Creepy!” I can assure you (and I’m quite sensitive to creepiness) it never, ever, ever, ever appeared creepy.
He was genuine. He was sweet. He was Santa Claus. And he did this out of the goodness of his heart. He was a member of our community – recently retired. His many acres of property were decorated with Christmas lights that brought people from miles around. He dedicated his time to help children believe in kindness, in goodness, in unconditional giving. He cared about the children in his community and took collections to “pay his light bill” and to give to the local Boys and Girls Club. He reminded them to study hard in school, mind their parents, brush their teeth. He reinforced strong values and the “real” reason for the season.
There is a 10 year age difference between my daughter and my sons. So for a time – she felt too old to see Santa in person – we skipped visiting. Oh sure, we always rode by to see the lights. If he wasn’t busy with another child he always waved to those passing by. But then we moved to another part of the county and once my boys arrived we skipped seeing Santa because we felt they were too young.
Then, they were 3 and 2 years old. They were ready! And I was so excited. I couldn’t wait for Santa to see how our daughter had grown. To meet her two new brothers. We talked to the boys about Santa. My daughter filled them in on what was to come Christmas morning. She helped them make a list. Just before we turned down the street I cried, “Let’s look for Santa!” But the street was dark. Only a porch light was on at the house. The area for parking wasn’t marked off anymore. My #1son asked, “Where Santa?” My husband quickly piped up, “Oh no! He’s not here tonight. I forget to check the schedule. I’ll bet he’s at the mall this evening.”
It’s a good thing my husband spoke up. I couldn’t. A tear made its way down my cheek.
When we got home I scoured the internet. I found our local online paper. The headline read “County Santa Will Return to the North Pole.” I was crushed. But he was getting older. His health wasn’t as good. And he just couldn’t keep up the hours anymore. He had been doing it for 13 years from 6pm until 8pm every night between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The article showcased parent after parent talking about all he meant to their child’s vision of Christmas and to our community.
He truly was Santa to all of us.
Santa is not about commercialism. He’s not about greed. He’s about giving for the sake of making someone else’s eyes light up. He’s about wonder and imagination. He’s about love and kindness.
And if you’re looking, you will see him. He may not be dressed up in a red suit. His beard may not have grown in. You will find his spirit in every act of generosity and grace during this wonderful season.
But you have to be willing to suspend your cynicism. You have to be willing to accept gifts without the expectation of something in return. To my knowledge, Santa doesn’t discriminate. As long as you believe, the gifts will come. Some are wrapped. Some are not. Some are obvious gifts. Some you realize as a gift only later.
But Santa is real.
If only you believe.
Money For Nothin’ And Givin’ For Free
Remember when my blog exploded because of a little Random Act of Kindness post?
Remember how I promised a post on the random comments I received?
Well, here it is.
I’m tempted to just end it here. Leave you in suspense. But what suspense? Oh, sure. I got the same crazy spam that prompted this post. Or this one, when I thought aliens were sending me spam.
Then there was the 2000 word comment. (I’m not kidding. I cut and paste it and put it into Word so it would count the words for me.) A 2000 word, nonsensical comment. Just a string of 2000 words. Who does that? And why?
But quite honestly, most of the spam I received was of your garden variety.
Except for one.
A comment from someone who claimed to have been a sexual slave for 18 months in Morocco. She began listing her financial troubles and general woes. And then she shared that she was praying that someone might bestow upon her, some random act of kindness – in the form of a couple hundred dollars. She ended her comment with this line: “Love to Jane and everyone who agrees with her talent of giving for free.”
That comment has been gnawing at me for over a week now. Is it real? Should I have let her comment appear? Why did I feel so strongly about censoring it?
Is it real? – Who knows. We can never know. There is so much deceit and scam running rampant on our internet waves. It’s hard to tell.
Should I have let her comment appear? – No. Then why am I telling you about it now? Maybe I want to be absolved of any guilt should it have been a true cry for help. Maybe I want her to see this post so she can hear me say, there are other places to go to for the kind of help you need. And then, when I write that response, I start to feel silly. Of course it was another scam.
Why did I feel so strong about censoring it? – “Giving for free.” Handouts. The old story about giving a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. (Oh, don’t I sound like a hardened, old Republican? Shudder.)
I was a member of the Junior League in our area. No. I wasn’t one of those bored doctor’s wives, looking for a few volunteer gigs to put on my resume. I was a single mom, passionate about giving back to my community. The years I was in the league we had out-of-this-world, amazing leadership. True givers. Movers and shakers. I learned skills about organizing and getting things done that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.
I also learned that there are tons and tons and tons of resources out there for the downtrodden. For the infirm. For the poor. And they’re not that hard to find.
The world owes me. Stick it to the man. If I can get away with it, why not? Who does it hurt?
It hurts me. Most of all, it hurts you.
There are people out there, families truly hurting. Living each day without knowing if the next day will bring food or shelter. I am much more willing to help someone who is desperately trying to eek out a living – pounding the pavement, visiting soup kitchens and United Way and free health clinics and applying for food stamps when necessary – than someone standing in front of me with their hand out saying I owe them because I should be kind. Or because I have more.
I am much more willing to help someone who is taking responsibility for their destiny than someone who wants to ride coattails.
Oh, goodness. I sound like a cold, hard, witch.
I’m not. Really.
I’m just wondering when personal responsibility will be in vogue again.
Filed under Blogging, Ponderings, Soapbox
Tagged as charity, comments, giving, handouts, kindness, money, personal responsibility, poor, scams, spam