Up end atom shaking the structured foundations of settled slumber to face the face of the day, meeting life head on into my future as is flows all around me. Good: morning. Carrying off where I left up and away to the real deal of sitting here writing and not drawing on my ping pong eggs, and getting these gifts finished catches my holiday spirit. Time is running on like a reindeer on a roof and I’ve gotta get to the chimney in time to catch the next flue home. My haste is seeing red and it soots me as fine as if Santa were here to do it for himself. So go ahead, suit up and join the festivities. The snow is thick upon the lens of my imagination, the air is crisp and clear as stars winkle and shine above, the night is open for adventure and my image laden sleigh waits at your view right by my fingertip dance. Hie on up and hold on tight, we’re taking to the sky for a magic-filled flight!
With a bell-jangling lurch forward, we start off and pick up speed, jostled to the hiss of the runners in the deeply piled snow, along the forest path as the trees begin to blur and suddenly there is smooth elevation and another burst of speed as the trees brush close and then are gone below us, their whitened caps looking softly sparkled in the glowing light of the gibbous winter moon. Up and on we fly, the fresh and cool air enlivening the ride, our thick and fluffy coverings keeping us as warm outside as our joy-filled hearts are inside. Speeding though we are, time seems to have stopped for the world below us, for it is clear to see that nothing moves but our shadow across the fields of velvet snow.
Suddenly the sleigh swerves and curves sharply down, like a rollercoaster, but without the stomach twisting centripetal force, and rushes toward a house with the speed of diving hawk! Watch out! The roof angles are just even with the runners and we abruptly stop, with no momentum pull, safe and still. Whew! I guess the driver knows what he’s doing! Now quick, up and out with the bag that is suddenly on your shoulder. Trudge a few snow deep steps to the chimney, climb a leg up and then the other and whoosh! down like a waterfall to step forward and stand in the living room of an unfamiliar and quiet house. A lovely tree stands decorated in lights, ornaments and tinsel, and carefully wrapped gifts lie beneath its sheltering branches, waiting for the morrow and their discovery by eager eyes. Sling the sack down to the ground, open it up, reach in and pull out a brightly wrapped and ribboned box, lay it among the treasures under the tree and admire how it blends in. Then pull out another and another until the sack offers no more. Stand back and survey the scene, savoring the beautiful dream that unfettered giving gives. And look, on the table, a glass of milk, a cookie on a plate and a note. Smiling at such a cliché image, you step over, pick up the cookie, take a bite (chocolate chip!), pick up and read the letter. In a small child’s innocent handwriting it says, “Dear Santa, Thank you for whatever you brought me. I love you!” and that is all, no signature. Well, I guess you can figure out who it is, or how would you know to come here? Another quick smile and sip of milk, then picking up the not-quite-empty sack, you step to the fireplace and fill the stockings hung on the mantle. Toys and fruit, candy canes and chocolate, trinkets and treasures to bring smiles of delight! Again, step back and see how wonderful it looks, like a post card from the North Pole! Then, duck under the stockings and zip! you’re back on the roof, just putting your feet down into the snow outside the chimney. Toss the sack with a laugh to eager elfin hands, climb back up into the driver’s seat and, with a playful crack of your virtual whip, set off into the sky once more, where you will repeat variations of this mid-night visit untold numbers of times, all filling your heart with the hopeful magic of a fairy tale Christmas. And, as the last stocking in the last house is filled to its brim, and the last cookie and sip of milk has been taken, as the last look around puts a bright twinkle in your eye, a sense of accomplishment settles about the shoulders of your generous, gentle soul, a satisfied feeling of a good job well done, and you wish you could share THAT with all those who have been gifted this Christmas eve. A poignant smile and a shake of your head, then back you step toward this last fireplace, when,
“…Santa?” a small voice rises from a shadowed hall, and a small child steps into the soft light of the tree. Her pajamas have pictures of dollies and teddy bears and she holds a blanket and rubs her eyes. She looks at you with tired, and somewhat trepidatious, admiration.
“Young lady, you are supposed to be asleep,” you gently respond, kneeling down to be more on her level of conversation.
“I hadda go to the baffroom …and then I came to see if you were here,” and here she brightens up, “And you are!” Her eyes grow as big as her smile, and you smile in return, open your arms and welcome her running into your loving hug. Well, this is a fine how-do-you-do, indeed! Your thoughts quickly try to recall the standard procedure for this sort of thing, but then you softly chuckle, kiss her on the head, stand and pick her up, carry her to a comfortable looking armchair, turn and sit with her safely ensconced in your lap.
“How would you like to hear a story?” you ask her.
“I doen hafta go back to bed?” her hopeful response.
“Not yet,” you assure her, “but we have to be quiet.”
“Okay!” she enthusiastically whispers and snuggles against your soft red suit.
“Well, once upon a time,” you begin… “there was a little girl, just like you,” and you spin a tale of fascination and wonder until, “… and she lived happily ever after,” gave your voice silence. You see the sleeping smile of this innocent young person, and the trust that they have for everything to be alright and you wish that you could share that wonderful feeling with everyone else as well. Ah, well, wishes indeed, indeed.
Gently standing and carrying the child to the passageway she came from, you set her down, kiss her sleepy head again and let her toddle off back to bed, where she will dream with all her heart that Santa Claus was there. You step back to the fireplace once more, hesitate for a moment as you have the desire to share this sweetly innocent young person’s view of the world: to know only peace and love, to feel free from fear or hunger, to have everyone care for one another and act upon it. Such a wonderful reality to share with everyone in the world …but that would be too much to ask of Santa, that would be beyond the possibilities of his magic bag, that would be something even St. Nicholas couldn’t accomplish, and besides, he isn’t real anyway. Give a shake of your head to go with your sudden smile, step to the fireplace and whisk! you’re away up the chimney, out onto the roof, up into the sleigh and off into the night as the world below slowly starts to move once more. Your magic steeds are eager to get home, as are you, and there are no more stops to make, so they quickly dash away back to the north pole of dreams and fantasy, to fade in thought until next year when Christmastime calls them back to action.
And what would you say of Santa Claus and his fantasy activities? You have traveled in his sleigh, gone down chimneys, distributed gifts and had a little girl dreaming in your red suited lap. Do you see the wonderful magic of the season in the personification of this ‘jolly old elf?’ Is the spirit of Christmas viable and alive in your heart? Do you understand the underlying message that Christmastime brings, beyond the religion and without the commercialism? From a small child’s wide-eyed wonder to an old person’s heart-felt joy, the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus is always available to touch upon and share, for it is a simple concept that we can share with anyone at all, at any time. It is not the gift that matters, it is the giving.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, and THAT is the Real Deal.