By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
As I wearily rise from the mountain of displaced powdered sugar, the trail of ill-folded tissue paper and an impressive list of jolly good things I have yet to do, I think back to when Christmas was slightly more simple. Thanks to ever-present social media not only do I have to master the art of creative cookie baking, elf tomfoolery, designer Christmas cards but now I have to look polished and ecstatic in each unsolicited photo. Certainly the world would collapse into monumental despair if my fa la la la la was even slightly off key.
Ignorance is bliss. Growing up I knew nothing of hostess gifts, cookies swaps and social media one up-ism. My tiny brain was consumed with thoughts of an incredibly flexible, multitasking reindeer whisperer who didn’t adhere to the no-white after Labor Day rule. My worries consisted of how quickly to remedy the wrong I had done to my little sister, the boy who pulled my pony tail and the countless frogs I forgot to remove from my pocket at laundry time. It was a mission I accepted with laser focus and miraculous enthusiasm. Never a more angelic little girl could be found from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. Distinctly I remember strategically postponing my normal hot headed behavior, when at all possible, in fear of the naughty list. It was a most effective reinforcer.
Now that I look into all too familiar eyes illuminated with an all too familiar flare for shenanigans, my parental inexperience sparkles. How do I explain the jolliest of souls to my most trusting little elf? She is no doubt cursed with the blessing of intellect. Her wheels turn, her brow furrows and she looks to me for clarity. Although frightening that I am the beacon of clarity, it is a responsibility I hold dear. Continuing with my commitment to trial and error for now, I choose bliss.
There are much worse things to me than believing in a jolly old soul that treats everyone the same. There are morals found in trusting in something you cannot see. Children all over the world are seen as special, worthy and cherished regardless of address, ethnicity or socioeconomics. Some may receive more wrapped gifts, but just like Santa, not all gifts are seen. Gifts can be an act of kindness, a show of love or the health of a newborn baby.
In a world so quickly phasing out childhood, is it wrong to encourage imaginative thought? For now, my answer is love, hope and joy. To my sweet MaryElen, Santa is real. He is just as real now as he was when I was a little girl. He promotes kindness, happiness and the gentler side of people. He is remarkably talented and gentle with animals. His sense of direction is uncanny and he never worries about calories. Santa Claus gives all the children, both young and old, reason to dream, reason to wish and reason not to be mean to frogs. Santa is as real as the wind, as capable as hope and as jolly as the giggle of a child.
Mommy and Daddy believe in Santa just as we believe in a greater good, a higher power and the heart of all humanity. If that belief occasionally comes dressed in red velvet then so be it. In a world so hurt, so lost and so confused, the line between Naughty and Nice is at least quite clear. For now I will encourage my baby girl to look to the sky, list her wishes, and sleep soundly knowing that love, hope and joy need no proof. Merry Christmas Beaufort, South Carolina.