A few nights ago, I was feverishly writing down my wish list for Santa. I had already listed comfortable, white, Fruit of the Loom underwear, warm socks, a new snow shovel, a knit ski hat, and a heating pad, when I paused for a moment to reminisce about being a child, and the anticipation of good old Saint Nicks visit. My family had a tradition of reading the poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” in front of a roaring fire, as we all sipped hot chocolate, and stared in wonder at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and colorful stockings hung above the fireplace. I’m not sure, if I’ve ever experienced that feeling of wonder and magic since. I still have memories of lying in bed on Christmas Eve, hearing a noise, looking out the window, seeing snow fall from our rooftop, and envisioning Santa Claus disembarking from his sleigh with an enormous bag, as eight tiny reindeer waited patiently nearby.
I remember from the poem, how Santa Claus was described as being dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. He had a broad face, and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf. His eyes how they twinkled. His dimples how merry. His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. Wait a minute….. I just realized something. Except for not having a beard, I look exactly like Santa Claus! I guess that explains a few things. In November, I took a much-needed two-week vacation, stopped shaving, bundled up in my fur-lined red jacket, and enjoyed a few delicious alcoholic beverages. Well – maybe a little more than a few. I kept having, smiling small children rush up to me, jump on my lap, and recite lengthy Christmas wish lists, before departing with their frazzled parents, who usually gave me disapproving looks.