Christmas, Holidays, Sharing

The Real Santa

Today we have a guest post, from my daughter who is home from college for Christmas. I appreciate her taking the time to write this when she’s been overwhelmingly busy with finals, wisdom teeth extraction, etc.

I love you, Sarah!


By Sarah WorkmanSanta

“HO HO HO, Merry Christmas!” is widely known to be what Santa Claus says. Many people, especially children, love to learn about Santa, the jolly fat man in a red suit who flies with his reindeer all over the world on Christmas Eve to give gifts to all the good girls and boys.

As children grow older though, they stop believing that Santa is real. Some parents try to make sure the children believe as long as possible, while other parents think that they should tell their children the truth about Santa before a playmate cruelly dashes their hopes. But do parents even know everything about Santa?

The most basic and widely held view of Santa in my culture is that he is an old man who loves to give presents to good little girls and boys. He and his elves watch and make a list so he knows what to give to whom, and he knows when they are asleep so he can deliver the presents without being caught. He also loves milk and cookies. Many songs and poems have been written about this Santa.

My view of Santa, which keeps me believing (even though I know that some people put presents under the tree and label them From Santa), is that Santa is simply the spirit of giving and good cheer.

Think about it. Would you like to work all year long just to lose a night’s sleep flying in the cold air to give away all your hard work? And only get a few cookies in return?

One attribute of Santa is that he gives everyone gifts because he wants to give. He also gives to everybody, regardless of how rich or poor they are, and he does not justify not giving a gift on circumstances that the person cannot control.  He also spreads good cheer to everyone, even if they do not return the good cheer. Each time he does this, someone’s life becomes a little better.

I don’t know if there is a man in a red suit, but I do know that if people believe in Santa, the Santa that gives freely and spreads happiness, if we believe in him and follow his example, we will be doing what Christmas is about, and Santa will be kept alive.

Christmas, Gifts, Holidays, Humor, Sharing, Tips

Holiday Tip #3: Christmas Codes

Dear Aunt Alice,

I hate waiting until the last minute to wrap gifts and put them under the tree.  The tree looks so bare without them!  But if I do it early, my kids demolish their gifts trying to figure out what they are.  Any suggestions?

Smasher-shaker’s Mom

Dear Smasher-shaker’s Mom,

Have you tried padding?  The gifts, I mean, not your room.  To protect them.  If you use enough, you can also change the shape of the gift, making it harder to guess what’s inside.

Actually, I’ve found that while he won’t lose interest entirely, a child will poke, prod and shake a box much less if it doesn’t have his name on it.  So go ahead and wrap the gifts ahead of time, but wait until Christmas Eve to label them.  This may not work if you only have one child, as she will assume that all the gifts are hers (or at least the interesting looking ones), but if you have several children they may spend more time trying to figure out who the gift is for than what the gift is.

How do you remember which gift is which so you can label them later?  Come up with a code!

Label each gift with a code that only means something to you.  Not only will this (hopefully) cut down on the handling of gifts, you will have the bonus of driving your children crazy as they try to crack the code.

One year I labeled each present with a six-digit number.  All except the last digit was random, and that last one stood for birth order.  So, for my firstborn son, his gifts could be labeled 384991 or 273641 or 192281.  As long as the last digit was a one, I knew that it was for him.  Since no two gifts had the same number, the kids went nuts trying to decipher it.

Another year, I used a letter code.  My 8-year-old cub scout was C, my third-grader was T, etc.  The code was easy for me to remember, but random enough that they didn’t even come close to figuring it out.  Come to think of it, I don’t even remember what I gave or got that year, but I do remember laughing a lot as my children tried desperately to figure out the code.

Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

Christmas, Gifts, Holidays, Humor, Sharing

Worst Gifts for Students?

Last week I posted a list of some of the worst gifts a man could give a woman.  This week, asked more than 500 high school and college students the worst gifts they had ever gotten.  Their top worst make my list look like the best gifts a person could receive.  Here are a few of the “winners”:

•A wooden stick doll without any eyes.
• A used lead pencil.
• Toilet paper.
• A calendar for 2009 that was given in December 2009.
• A dead mouse.

I have to note (with relief) that the last item was not given by a husband to his wife.  Apparently a girl gave it to her brother as revenge.

Someone also commented that getting a bad gift is better than getting no gift, and except for the case of the lifeless rodent, I have to agree.  Feeling forgotten is much, much worse than not feeling special.

Children, Christmas, Gifts, Holidays, Tips

Holiday Tip #2 – Save Your Child’s Hearing

I’ve shared this tip before, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re giving a child a toy that makes sounds (music, beeps, etc.) especially if it doesn’t have a volume control, stick a layer or two of packing tape over the speaker portion of the toy before you wrap it up.

Toys tend to be much too loud for a child’s sensitive ears. This simple trick can help save their hearing, and maybe save you a few headaches as well!

Christmas, Gifts, Holidays, Sharing, Tips

Holiday Tip #1 – Getting Sneaky

Carry a tarp, blanket, or even a large box in the back of your car for hiding gifts. This works better if you put it in the car well before December so the children get used to it being there. Then they’ll be less curious about what’s in or under it.

Of course, carrying a blanket in the wintertime is a good idea anyway. You never know when you might get stuck somewhere in bad weather!