I’ve been a good girl this year … well, pretty good. On a scale between glowing halo and riding the lightning, I’d say I’m a solid halo with just a little tarnish. Not so much that you’d notice. Just don’t look too closely.
Santa, it’s been a long year full of ups and downs, mostly ups thank the sweet baby Jesus. And I know that you’ve been watching me from up there at the North Pole just like you do all the other girls and boys and that your favor will shine down on me come Christmas Eve. At least I hope it will. I do get credit for trying, don’t I?
Anyway, it’s that time of year again so I thought I’d write this little note to share with you some things I want for Christmas. I know life isn’t all about what I want. It should be about what others want, what they need, and sharing love, joy, and happiness (and quite possibly money, clothes, or food) with others. You know, the true gifts of the season. But this is the paradigm tradition has given us to work with, so here goes.
First of all, I’d like a blank notebook. That way every time I’m tempted to pick up my phone to kill a few minutes of boredom, I can pick up the notebook instead and write down an idea or draw a picture. I’ll observe the spaces and people around me. Or maybe I’ll stare off into space and let my mind wander. Then I’ll pick up my notebook and document that little journey. However it plays out, I want the notebook to help me stay present and appreciate what’s happening in the moment, right where I am, not somewhere else.
I’d also like a pair of second-hand shoes, preferably a pair that is tight and uncomfortable and ugly. And when I find myself feeling feelings of impatience, intolerance, and prejudice, I can put those shoes on to remind myself that I should try to see things from a different point of view, to put myself in someone else’s place even though it may make me feel uneasy and pained. And even when these shoes are not pinching my feet, the thought of them will pinch my soul to remind me that wearing compassion and empathy is far less unpleasant and maybe even joyful.
I’d like a piano too. With every apology to Miss Joy, my childhood piano teacher, to whom I should have paid more attention (even though it’s hard to focus on Nearer My God to Thee when you really want to play like an elementary school honky tonk entertainer), I know I don’t play well. But when Christmas dinner is reduced to crumbs and haphazardly stacked dishes and the after dinner cream sherry has warmed one’s heart and one’s esophagus, that’s the time to gather ‘round the piano and sing carols like we used to do when Aunt Lois, God rest her soul, would tickle the ivories. A keyboard would do, I guess. I’m sure I can bang out a passable Joy to the World or Good King Wenceslas. And if everybody else is into the cream sherry, I’m sure it will sound that much better.
The next thing on my list is a pair of red silk pajamas. My Grandpa Mac used to put on his red silk pajamas every Christmas Eve and pretend to be fast asleep under the tree waiting for you, Santa! The grandchildren would have to rouse him in order to get our presents, but my my, what a sound sleeper he was. We’d poke and prod, and he’d just yawn and stretch and roll right over! Finally, we’d manage to wake him up only to find he’d slept right through your visit. Every time I see red Christmas pajamas, it reminds me of those happy days when we were children and the whole family would gather together to celebrate the holiday.
This one’s a little more conceptual: I want people to “act right” as my Granny used to say. Now I know that my right and your right and their right might all be a little different, or a lot different. But there are some basic tenets of right that I think we can all get behind: equality, fairness, civility, understanding, solidarity, generosity. Can you work on that? It may take more than Christmas magic to keep it going all year, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Maybe what I want is to not be so disappointed in people who don’t act right. I’ll take that instead — no disappointment.
Can I ask for something for others? If so, I’d like you to bring switches and coal to all those who know how to act right and choose not to. It’s one thing if you don’t know what’s right, but it’s a whole other thing if you do know what’s right and ignore your better instincts. Switches and coal. Switches and coal.
And the last thing that’s on my list is oranges — all the oranges — navel, satsuma, tangerine, blood, clementine. I purely love oranges. Oranges are a symbol of giving and generosity, St. Nicholas and the gold and all that, so they’re the perfect Christmas treat. I might even make some ambrosia for Christmas dinner just like Granny always did. Better bring me some Band-Aids too for when I grate all that coconut.
Anyway, tell Mrs. Claus, Rudolf, and all the elves that Audrey says “hey.” And I’m leaving you some of my homemade fudge with a little glass of the good bourbon instead of milk. After all, Christmas is a celebration! Until next year, I am
p.s. And if you could be extra nice to all my readers, I sure would appreciate it! They’re some nice folks who share as many great stories with me as I do with them, and they all deserve a little something extra in their stockings this year.