The other day, I was with my mom and nieces at one of the malls in our area. The girls wanted to see Santa, so we waited in line to see him. I started to wonder about this Santa long before we got in to see him, because he makes the kids stand in front of him and tell them what they would like for Christmas, instead of sitting next to him in his giant chair, or sitting on his knee. Well, I guess he lets those paying to get their picture taken with him sit on his knee, but they are the only ones. I will say, he looked authentic, with real whiskers, and hair, and he is an older man, much as you would suspect Santa would really look like. However, he doesn't have the heart of what I suspect Santa would have.
One of my nieces wrote her letter to Santa at the beginning of the week. I read it. I shed a couple tears. She doesn't really ask for anything. She is 8, not a very typical thing for a little girl. But, my little niece has a big heart and is a very caring.
She had two things on her list. If she read my blog, I would be in trouble, because I am not supposed to tell anyone what she asked for, but I am going to do it. She asked that the homeless kitty that wandered to their home a week or so ago can stay, and she asked for snow for Christmas. She told me the kitty needs a place to live, and a family, so she just wants it to be able to stay at their home and they can take care of it. I met it, and although I am not much of a cat lover, this kitty does not know that. It snuggled against my legs, becoming my new best friend while I was out in their driveway. It refused to give up on becoming my friend, and I gave in and petted it and loved on it. In return I received loving purrs and soft meows. I am sure the kitty has a new home at my sister's house.
The second thing she asked for.....snow. She asked for snow because everyone loves snow at Christmas. While it's a big thing to produce, it's a pretty humble request from a little one, in my opinion. This is what she asked Mr. Mall Santa for, to which he didnt' have much of a response at first. He stood there, dumb struck. I just kept smiling as I watched him stumble over his words, and frankly, make a jerk of himself, at least to the adults watching. He asks her what do you really want, to which she continues to reply 'snow.' He then says, in a rude voice 'Well, why don't you just ask for world peace!!!???' My wide-eyed niece stood staring at him, not realizing he was being a sarcastic, rude man. He had the nerve to say it to her again. By this time, my mom and I were starting to tense up and at least I was thinking of telling Mr. Mall Clause a thing or two about talking to little kids. He continued to make a few dumb comments, continuing to ask her what toy she wanted or what game, to which she shook her head and said she only wanted snow. I was worried that my little tenderhearted niece was going to pick up Santa's bad attitude and get teary-eyed because he was being an insensitive person to a pretty sensitive little girl. She finished up by telling Mr. Mall Clause that she wanted to knit a scarf for Mrs. Clause because she thinks it would be nice to give her a present, since Santa is always giving presents to others. He said in a fairly gruff, you are wasting my time kid voice, 'Oh, well, you have a nice Christmas now,' as he pretty much pushed her along. I would expect the real Santa would say to her how it was nice that she was thinking of Mrs. Clause, and that Mrs. C would love a handmade scarf, and that she was a thoughtful little girl. I would also expect that he would think that she didn't have a long list of give me's would be something that was nice as well. Yes, she's my niece, but I would feel this way about any kid/Mall Clause situation. I watched him with a couple other kids, and he is far from a person who should be representing Santa. One kid was scared to death of him, and he kept trying to shove a color book in his face, the gift he was giving to kids, instead of just talking to the little guy, getting down on his level, and trying to calm him down, not make him more upset as he kept saying 'here take this book.'
I am proud of both my nieces. Neither one is centered on the give me's of Christmas. My other niece just asked Santa for a dark blue dress. Pretty simple list for a little girl who just turned 7. They aren't asking for the latest and greatest toys, Ipads, phones, computers. They have simple lists, lists we all should have. Their focus isn't on the materialism of Christmas that the world tries to push on all of us. They are focused on the little things, the simple things. They are making a lot of gifts to give to all their loved ones, and that is what they are really excited about. They are also excited about Jesus, the real reason for Christmas. They are learning how to do sign language to Jesus Loves Me for their Christmas play at church. They are so excited to share that song. In all that matters, what Mr. Mall Clause thinks doesn't matter one bit. What matters is having a giving heart, a heart focused on others not self or materialism. I hope I can remember to be childlike throughout this season, to keep things simple, to appreciate the little things, to look at things with wonder, and to take time to remember that Jesus Loves Me.