“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
I grew up on a Christmas Tree Farm, with a Father who showered not just our family with gifts each Christmas, but allowed me to be his Elf in his annual Secret Santa shopping, wrapping, and gifting to others venture. Father served on the local Township Committee, the School Board, and was the Township’s Building Inspector. He knew who was in need, who had children, and where they lived. To my knowledge, no one…not my Mother, the shop-keepers he purchased from, or the gift recipients, ever knew who quietly left the already wrapped and carefully tagged gifts at their door. The last workshop on the Christmas Tree Farm would sport a lock from Thanksgiving until the New Years and hold winter resting farming gear and our secret joyful Christmas work as well. Matching winter coats, gloves, hats, and boots in the right sizes, along with the art supplies, candy, and of course the toys to be wrapped by me. Bags of oranges and apples for everyone. Father never said who the gifts were for exactly, and I never told him of the many items I would recognize at school after the holidays. Gifts being shown off by kids who said they had the best Christmas ever. I always suspected that perhaps Mrs Parker, and Mrs SLeasmen, the school nurses, were my Father’s Elves too, the way they beamed after the holidays. I kept everyone’s secrets because I did not want to spoil this pure magical part of my life for anyone involved, mostly myself.
My Father died too young, and never met his youngest Grand-child, or her wonderful family. They are outside people just like himself. I like to think of him watching down on all of us from the trees when we go hiking. With certainty part of him lives within my daughter.
While visiting recently, my daughter and I found ourselves alone in the kitchen. Quickly she filled three gift bags with little cakes, candy, bubble baths, smell goods, hair ribbons, and gift cards to a grocery. Then out the door we went to do some errands. First, driving around neighborhoods we’d never been before, she intent with her mapping phone app. A sudden pull up to a house, leap out with a bag, dash back, and while speeding away smile to me saying ,
“Someone having a bit of a rough patch, Mom. They don’t need to know who helped.”
I am so lucky to have had two fine examples of Santa Claus in my life. Though they never met, they are connected by blood and in spirit. These Santa Claus people share their kindness, care, and their generosity with positive and quiet action, and would not have it any other way.
So much fun to tell some family secrets!
Today’s Music Tran-Siberian Orchestra: Ghosts of Christmas Eve