Every Christmas, my mom’s piano is covered in pictures with Santa. There’s the one of me as a baby, cradled in Santa’s arms. There’s the one of all three of us girls crowding Santa. There’s the one of us holding onto our youngest sister to keep her from bolting. There’s the one of us and our cousins as teenagers, all sitting on Santa’s lap while he was either grinning widely or grimacing from the pain of our weight. There are probably 16 or more pictures of us at various stages of life with our friend, Santa Claus. And then, to finish off the cycle, are the ones of my own kids with Santa. My favorite is the one when my daughter was 2. On her face is a smile that tells a story of fear and trepidation. It was the best smile we could get. Each time the camera flashed, she had been frowning, or grimacing, or looking at us to see if she was done yet. The elf at the booth would ask me each time if that one was acceptable, and true as a mom of a toddler that wants the perfect picture (despite the growing line behind me), I would ask her to take one more. I was about to ask her to take one again, sure that she would smile this time, when a little voice piped up.
“Moooommmmm?” she said in a wavering voice, begging with her eyes to please be taken from this strange man’s grasp.
“That first one we took is the best. We’ll take that one,” I told the elf as I scooped her up.
Santa was always a huge part of our holiday. My sisters and I were faithful in writing him letters and setting them by the fireplace to be whisked away by the wind to the North Pole. We’d start writing our letters in July. We’d make promises of being good all year, and helping our mother, and then, once December hit, we’d make good on those promises.
Truth is, I’m sure Santa was aware that we weren’t exactly good as gold. Every Christmas morning there was a little fear in the pit of my stomach that he would only leave me coal, or worse, skip our house altogether in favor of moving on to a house with well-behaved children. He never did skip us, though. And he never did leave us coal. Instead he left us presents like the pink bike with streamers and clackers on the spokes, or the stereo with the CD player and the remote control, or the socks with a space for each of my toes. And he never failed to leave us a letter, thanking us for the milk and cookies and the sweet cob we left for the reindeer. And just to make his presence known, he’d leave crumbs in the bottom of the glass and a boot print in the fireplace, and occasionally bells from his sleigh or some other cool memento.
This year, the Press Democrat would love to have your child’s letters to Santa before they send them off to the North Pole. The annual Holiday Gift Guide will be publishing on December 10th, and they plan on publishing letters to Santa from kids aged 0 – 102. Letters can include anything they want – pictures, what they want for Christmas – anything! At the end, have them sign it and include the town they live in. We’re looking for letters from all over the county! If chosen, your child’s letter will appear in the Gift Guide, wrapped in the newspaper on December 10th. Make your child a star!
Please see the forums on where to send letters to Santa by CLICKING HERE. Entries must be mailed by Friday, November 27th, or dropped off by December 1st, so the window to do this is small. Start your letters today! We’ll be sure to send them off to Santa once we get all the letters. Happy writing!
P.S. If your family has a different tradition for the holidays, please feel free to share that instead of a letter to Santa.