I've taken a little heat for the speed with which we moved onto decorating for Christmas this year. The turkey carcass was practically still sitting on the counter when we hauled all of the Christmas boxes up from storage and started decking our halls with boughs of holly. I could give you a long list of reasons why we were completely justified in leaving Thanksgiving behind so quickly but the biggest reason of all, the one that I challenge any of you to try to resist, would have to do with one little girl who simply loves Christmas.
It really isn't her fault. She cannot be judged for her inordinate love of all things Christmas-y and tinsel-y and Christmas carol-y...because, the thing is, it's in her blood.
At the risk of blowing your mind on this early Monday morning and sending you running for that second, third or fourth cup of coffee, I have a pretty big secret to share. Well, at least it's a secret to some of you. Some of you, and you know who you are, won't be the least bit surprised. But the rest of you...well...you see, what you might not realize, and will likely come as a bit of a shock to those who have only known me as an adult is...okay...brace yourselves...
I grew up as the daughter of Santa Claus.
I'm sure some of you are smiling, or perhaps wrinkling your brow in confusion, or chuckling, imagining that I am simply telling a cute joke. I am not joking. And I can assure you that any of my oldest, dearest friends- those closest to me and my family as a child-some of whom might be reading this at this very moment-are not chuckling. They are nodding in all seriousness, and would solemnly tell you if asked, "Oh, yes, it is absolutely true. Her father was Santa Claus."
Because they know.
And it wasn't just because my father donned his red suit and beard almost every year of his adult life, thrilling children and adults alike with his booming laugh and jolly spirit.
It wasn't just because he always seemed to know the right thing to say to encourage a shy child to share their deepest heart's desire.
It wasn't just because both babies and awkward teenagers never seemed to balk at taking their place on his knee, sensing him completely worthy of their trust.
It wasn't just because of who he was on that one day each year. Even though everyone saw and knew and believed he was Santa Claus on that one day.
But the real reason we knew, why we still know, was because everyone saw and knew and believed he was Santa Claus everyday of the year.
He laughed like that everyday. He could get any child to warm up to him, everyday. He loved babies and teenagers alike, everyday. He gave and he gave and he gave....everyday.
And I miss him...everyday.
But especially at Christmas.