By: Shannon Ralph
Merry Christmas! It’s been a while. I think the last time I wrote to you was when I was 11 years old. That was the year my dad died and the year before I pestered my mother so much about your existence that she finally yelled at me in a fit of exasperation, “Fine! He’s not real! Are you happy, dammit!?” In a twisted sort of way, I was quite happy. What twelve-year-old doesn’t want to be right?
Over the thirty years since then, however, I’ve come to miss our letters. I’ve come to miss our dependable exchanges. No one really tells me that I’ve been a good girl anymore. I think I’ve made the Nice List this year, but no one acknowledges it once you get past a certain age. There are no accolades. No jovial men with comfy laps who hug you tight and tell you how amazing you are. No one pops by my cubicle at work to hand me a candy cane and tell me all my Christmas wishes will come true. No one “ho, ho, hos” when I tell them what I really want for Christmas. No one.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I miss you, Santa.
You and I have more in common than you may think. Like you, I am a self-avowed cookie lover and a Weight Watchers drop-out. Like you, I love nothing more than a good cup of cocoa and some warm woolen socks. Like you, I have a devoted wife and a house full of mischievous minions. Like you, I love other people’s children. And like you, I would really prefer seeing most of them one day a year—as they slept. So see…we are not so very different.
Perhaps we can reconnect? Become pen pals again?
Maybe I should start with my grown-up Christmas list. I don’t mean to sound selfish but, you know, it’s kind of what we do. I tell you what I want for Christmas and you assure me that I’ve been good enough to receive it. It’s a tad dysfunctional, I’ll admit, but it’s sort of what you signed up for when you donned that somewhat outdated (we’re friends, so we can be honest with one another, right?) red suit. So, here goes. I will try to keep this brief as I am sure you are still trying to get through my daughter’s recent lengthy and extensive list of demands.
For Christmas this year, I would like:
- A friend for my son. Nicholas suffers from a great deal of social anxiety. Making friends doesn’t come naturally for him. He’s an amazing kid with so much to offer, but his quirkiness (the quirkiness that, by the way, makes him so lovably Nicholas-like) is often off-putting to young kids. Please find him a friend. A kid who can overlook the anxiety and just see Nicholas. Funny, sensitive, kind, intelligent, devoted, sweet Nicholas.
- Can you do something about the Supreme Court? Ruth Bader Ginsburg is pretty amazing—I’ve always had an inkling suspicion that she is one of your elves—but some of those old white dudes need a hefty infusion of Christmas spirit. (Or perhaps a kick in the head from Prancer?)
- Wisdom. I feel like at this point in my life, I should know the answers. I should be more confident in my decisions. Like Wonder Woman or Princess Leia or Oprah, I should easily distinguish right from wrong. Black from white. But I see gray everywhere. Decisions do not come easily to me. I anguish over life’s choices. If you can find it in your heart to grant me a tiny bit more wisdom, I would greater appreciate it.
- An end to the whole gay marriage debate. I mean, come on. This is 2014. Shouldn’t we have fixed this issue way back when your suit was still in style? I got married this past summer (You didn’t get the invitation? Stupid post office!), but there are so many people in this country who are still not able to marry. Perhaps if you grant my #2 wish, this one will handle itself? Otherwise, put your best elves on the case! A couple of fairies probably wouldn’t hurt either.
- Can you make my brother fall in love with Minneapolis? Yes, I know it’s a hard sell. It’s cold. North Pole cold. And gray six months out of the year. And we won’t even mention the snow. He’s a Kentucky boy at heart and Minneapolis might as well be a foreign country. But here’s the thing. I miss him. I miss his wife. I would love for my children to have more time around their uncle. And all three of his sisters are here. Maybe if you put enough spin on it, you could convince him? Perhaps Jesus could help. I know you’ve got an in with the Notorious SOG (Son of God) since you are all about his birthday. Networking, dude. It’s all about networking.
- A cure for cancer. I know you must get this one a lot. You have yet to cure cancer, so maybe it’s not within your power, but I like to think that your
hideousfestive suit gives you powers beyond that of mere mortals like myself. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 11. I lost two uncles to cancer in the last two years. I have an aunt battling cancer. My cousin’s baby has cancer. It’s really quite ridiculous that you dole out 500,000 Chia Pets a year but you won’t cure cancer. Priorities, my friend.
- An end to bullying. It’s really out of hand these days. And it is not just kids who feel the brunt of bullying. We all suffer. Please make us a more tolerant people. Please help us to embrace diversity. To honor differences. To recognize that the characteristics that make us different are the very things that make us special. If you can accomplish this, Santa, I will have a new respect for that fuzzy red suit. (Seriously, man…go to Macy’s. Get yourself a nice sport coat.)
- A moment’s peace. I realize that lots of mommies and daddies are probably asking you for the same thing and that your elves are likely working overtime trying to fill orders. I won’t be selfish. I am not asking for an entire day. Just a few minutes. Maybe a shower without anyone knocking on the bathroom door? A few moments to read the paper without someone loudly declaring that they are starving? Or maybe even just let me make my coffee in the morning without anyone tugging on my elbow begging for juice? Just a moment. A single, silent, solitary moment.
- An iPhone 6. Because I am basically a materialistic cretin at heart.
- The Snoopy Sno Cone Machine I never received as a child. (I’m not bitter or anything.)
So that’s pretty much my list for the year. I’m so glad we are reconnecting, Santa. You’ve been a good friend to me and I hope we keep in touch.
Please give your lovely wife a hug from me.
P.S. I picked out an especially delicious-looking cookie recipe from Pinterest for you this year! Gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, raw peanut butter banana chickpea cookies. Yum!
Photo Credit: David Goehring