The Quiet Room at the Philadelphia airport. Dec 22, 2019
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? Me? I’m in quiet (not silent, cuz here I am blogging about it) peaceful protest. Still, I can hear the bells tolling on Santa’s sleigh; from around the necks of his jolly crew of reindeer; on the shoes of his hard-working elves; from cash registers near and far. I wish forever and a day this holiday of Christmas was held in sacred accord with religious vows and values. That it wasn’t about what Santa wraps and leaves in secret under the tree. That it wasn’t about glorifying the acquiring of a bunch of stuff we don’t need. That it wasn’t about lying to our children.
It isn’t stuff we’re short on. Time and un-distracted presence is what we’re collectively lacking. Both are free; priceless.
OK. So, you may be wondering where I plan on going with this post (me too, by the way). How will the topic of Santa get woven into the thread of mindfulness? Well, honestly, I’m not really sure yet. But I thought I’d just start typing and see what happens.
The other day I was reading our local news online and came across a story about the Parade of Lights, which happened here in town a couple of weeks ago and involved family friendly activities throughout the day, pictures with Santa, and a parade and tree lighting downtown in the evening. The article mentioned how one of the daytime activities was for kids to write letters to Santa, hosted by a local downtown business. It stated how last year the business collected around 300 letters before Christmas and then wrote back to each kid in response using a set template with certain areas left blank so they could be filled in with a personal touch and be individualized.
There was part of me that was proud of the local business for spending so much of their time and energy devoted to our community’s kiddos. However, there was also part of me that was sitting there reading the article shaking my head back and forth in disgust at the deeply penetrating and pervasive lie that sweeps our nation this time every year about the existence of Santa. In being a weekly blogger I’m often thinking of what to make my next blog post about and tuning into things with the mindset of how to tie it into the art of mindful living and write about it later on. As soon as I read the article mentioning the letters to Santa I thought, “How can I turn my frustration about this whole societal Santa ordeal into a blog post?” While I’ve mostly grown out of my ranting states of self-righteous infused monologues that prevailed when I was in my twenties I’m still holding onto this one rather tightly. When I think about or read about the certain Christmas related fantastical myths of Santa Claus or flying reindeer or elves at the North Pole I feel this sense of anger well up within me. But rather than going off on some long diatribe about the perpetuation of these myths and how I think it’s wrong to lie to our children about Santa I think instead I’ll keep with the nature of this blog and delve more deeply into my reaction.