I didn’t grow up with Santa. I don’t celebrate Christmas. I don’t know the story. But I like the concept. I’ve always wanted the presents and the tree. When I was 16, I went to Santa Anita Mall in California and took a picture with Santa Claus. My first one ever. I now have that picture on a keychain tucked safe inside a box. A priced possession. That’s what I think Christmas is about.
In kindergarten, my teacher would ask us to bring a wrapped gift from our parents to put under a tree so during our last class before Christmas, one of the staff members could dress up as Santa Claus and give it back to us as presents. It was the most wonderful time of the year. Technically, it’s a present from me, for me and yet it felt unbelievably amazing. But can every child have that?
I have parents that took the time and spent the money to buy me a present and wrap it perfectly just so I could have something to be surprised about on a day that I don’t even celebrate. Can everyone do that? Can everyone afford to do that?
This year, my best friend and I have decided to start a tradition. We love the idea of Christmas and presents. So we set a common budget and said, “We will meet on the 25th and exchange gifts. It is definitely going to be so much fun.” The day is drawing close and I’m starting to have second thoughts. There’s nothing we’re going to buy that the other cannot afford now or at any other time during the year. There’s nothing we really want that we can’t live without. You see, we live pretty content lives, materialistically speaking. So what is the point of starting something like this? What is it that the two of us crave but can’t have right now? And then.. I had a light bulb moment.
Happiness. We are both going through a very difficult and trying time. It is a struggle to get through the day and we would love it if, just for a few minutes, we could feel undisturbed happiness. But how do we give each other that?
I called her. I explained what I believe should be done on that day and she agreed without hesitation. So here’s the thing.
This year, my best friend and I have decided to start a tradition. We love the idea of Christmas and presents. Just like so many other kids in my city that actually celebrate the holiday but can’t afford to buy presents. So we set a common budget and said, “We will meet on the 25th and go to the closest orphanage or homeless shelter and give them gifts. It is definitely going to be so much fun.” The day is drawing close and I’m starting to feel excited. These are kids without parents, without families. All they have is each other and there’s not much they can give to each other but love and though that is better than any material ever, a little Christmas miracle never hurt anybody. So we want to give them something they can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. It just has to make them happy.
Because the only way you can ever give happiness to yourself is by giving it to another.
It may sound selfish but there’s nothing wrong in feeling good as long as you know that the reason you did what you did was for the other person and not for yourself. So here’s what I think – When you look at it from a distance, there’s more to the tiny little things that surround this day, more lessons, more joy than what it has become. And when I think of Santa, I think it’s what he intended to do. This was Santa Claus’ Theory :
He’ll teach the kids to be nice all through the year by tempting them with a reward. He’ll teach them to appreciate the people in their lives. He’ll help them understand the next person’s needs so they can buy exactly that for a present. He’ll show them the art of happiness – not because of what you have as your present but because you watch the other person smile at what you’ve gotten for them. He’ll let the family create a lifetime of traditions.
Like I want to create with you. So let’s do this – you and me. Our little Christmas tradition to be done year after year, for as long as we live.
When you’re shopping for presents, buy a little something else. Can even be a bag of chocolates. Drop it off at the closest homeless shelter on Christmas day. If you’re feeling up to it, walk in and hand them to the people there. It’ll be our little thing every year. It’s not expensive, it’s not mighty but it’s a memory. For you, for me and for them. And I’ve always said, a memory is the most priced possession you can ever have.
Sending a lot of love, joy and miracles your way,
Merry Christmas 🙂