This is an excerpt from my new non-fiction book, SHAYNE ON YOU, a just released collection of my long running advice column and other essays on life, love and saggy boobs. I hope you enjoy it. The link goes to Kindle, but if you scroll down the page, I have links to other formats in the sidebar. At this writing, the Nook link isn’t yet up but I’ll be adding it any day now. And now without further ado, I give you:
Maggie’s Letter to Santa
I’m using my column this week to make an admission few adults would probably make. I still believe in Santa Claus.
Every year, as Christmas approaches, I write him a long, long, l-o-n-g letter. I don’t just list the gifts I want for the holiday. Instead, I list all the wonderful things I would like to have in the coming year. Things I’d like to have, to do, to see, to experience, and to be. It includes all the things that would be on my Christmas wish list, my list of New Year’s Resolutions, and any other list you can think of. (That’s why it’s so long.)
Just a few weeks ago, right around Thanksgiving, I repeated another annual tradition of mine. I took out last year’s “Dear Santa” letter, and re-read it, so I would be sure to give thanks for anything that actually happened for me.
And as I read, I was astounded, because almost everything on last year’s list came to pass. There were career things. There were personal things. There were “thing” things (stuff I wanted.) I got nearly all of it.
The funniest (funny/ironic, not funny/ha ha) item on the list was my desire to accomplish “at least one major home improvement project.” Since the house was gutted by fire, I got the most major home improvement project I could have imagined! The place was practically rebuilt. So I guess I need to be more careful with my wording this time. =)
Anyway, I was so bolstered by seeing how well this bit of holiday magic works for me, that I could hardly wait to write my list for 2009. And as is my tradition, a part of all of this, on the night of the Winter Solstice, I took my freshly completed list out, re-read it, thought about all the things I want in the coming year, and then I left it out. Because in my particular belief system, the Winter Solstice is the night when the magic of this holiday is at its strongest. So I left it out for Santa to read on that night.
Symbolic, you ask?
I thought so.
But then the next morning, (just this past Monday) I went out to finish some last minute shopping, and on the way home, I saw an SUV pulled off onto the side of a road in the middle of nowhere, with its signal light flashing. As I drove past, I first thought, “I wonder if they’re having car trouble and need help?” and my second thought was, “Ohmygosh, I think that was Santa!”
I was sure I’d seen a white beard on the man in the driver’s seat.
Well, not being one to leave Santa stranded a few days before his big night, I found the nearest place to turn around and did so, then went back and pulled up behind him. I walked up to the driver’s door, and he put his window down, and yes, it was Santa. Full red suit and hat in place, and his beard was genuine, not fake. (I can tell.) The sparkle in his eyes wasn’t fake either. So I asked Santa if he needed help—a phone, a ride, reindeer feed, spare tinsel, anything at all.
“No,” he said. “I’m just … waiting. It’s almost time, you know.”
“Almost time,” I repeated, nodding knowingly. I said that I just had to check on him, that I couldn’t have risked Santa being stranded this close to the holiday, that I was expecting big things, after all. He took my hand for a moment, and laughed, and thanked me for checking on him. And I went back to my car, and drove on, found another safe spot, turned around, and went back the way I’d been going. As I passed him again, he was pulling away.
If I’d passed a few minutes earlier or later, he’d have been gone. But he was there, just when I was, on the morning after I’d left my letter to Santa out for him to read.
I take that as a very good sign. 2009 is going to kick some holly jolly butt!
I do believe in Santa Claus. I’ll never stop.
This is an advice column, so I’m going to give some. Write a letter to Santa Claus and leave it out for him tonight.
And then relax, and trust him. Believe me, he’ll deliver.
Happy Holidays! (And that’s an order!)