“Many Faces of Santa Claus “

“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!

willard massey1

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.

thumb_IMG_0537_2_1024My 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

 

This is in response to Daily Post: The Luckiest People                                           And WordPress Weekly Photo Theme: Transitions

96 thoughts on ““Many Faces of Santa Claus “

  1. The spirit of your dad is strong in your daughter. What a wonderful gift to have received for both of you. This was an inspiring post and one I can relate to in that my dad before my daughter’s first birthday and although he knew her briefly she has no recollection of him. But she does bear his name, Jessi (he was Jesse). We named her after him before we knew he had cancer and something tells me this was no accident. Thanks again for a thought provoking story.

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  2. Beautiful, JoHanna. And much-needed in these troubled times. Your tale reminded me of my favorite Christmas story, John Cheever’s “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor.” The title is a bit misleading. It’s worth a read. Merry Christmas!

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  3. This sparked memories for me. Expect a pingback later today. And like the Papua New Guinea photos you commented on, the piece won’t be exclusively happy.

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  4. This post truly moved me … beautifully penned… And touching thoughts, at the end…
    Having good memories is certainly a gift to many of us, but woefully not for all… thus, we must be grateful for them… Sending much love, dear Johanna. Aquileana 😀⚡️

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  5. what a heartwarming post. thanks for sharing this story. A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you – in Canada Thanksgiving has already come and gone – but every day is a gift and the thankfulness continues. So thank you for sharing.
     
    Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas season.

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    1. Oh, the Christmas Trees, the fact that we only sold Dug Trees, and they would show up to grow huge and stately all over our community..in fact many still are thriving…well it made me a tree hugging environmentalist before there was even such a label for it. Thank you for your kind words.

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  6. With all the hype of commercialism and the cynical voices crying out against Christmas it is so lovely to read something that truly embodies the Christmas spirit. You have encapsulated the true spirit of giving…giving love, sharing joy, being grateful and passing these gifts to the next generation. I wish we could all live this message. Thanks and very best wishes for the season! TJ

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    1. Thank you so very much. I appreciate your visit and your words of support so much. So good to hear from you.

      With the so many feeling off tilt right now I am thinking that the holidays have arrived as needed.

      Thank you and best wishes.

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  7. Thanks for sharing the story about your father…truly heartwarming! As a child you were a listener, an observer and now as an adult you write about those childhood things you heard and saw. You have much to share and I look forward to more of your posts. I’ll be posting soon…please stop by.

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  8. Gorgeous post JoHanna, brought tears to my eyes. It’s wonderful there are such good people in this world who go out of their way to do good deeds without the need to be thanked…well I thank your beautiful daughter for her incredibly kind deed. A little story from me I was going out to dinner last night and there was a homeless man begging on the street, I gave him $10 AUD and as I did another man rode past on a bike and said ‘don’t give him any money he has a two bedroom home in a local suburb’…was this true I don’t know but I looked at this ‘homeless’ man and as far as I could see he was down and out…I chose to believe that he was homeless and felt good that perhaps my $ would be able to buy him something warm to eat or drink.

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    1. My Father was a series of contradictions. A very public figure within our community, well respected, and often speaking up for right on unpopular issues. But his generosity and kindness to those in need was done with such stealthiness and anonymity. I was thrilled when included or privy to knowing of something kind he was in the midst of doing for someone, but as an adult realized that I probably didn’t know but a small portion of the good he did for others and our community. It is a joy to see his Santa Claus nature remains alive and well in my daughter.

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  9. How lovely! You daughter is the real example of a good soul. Guess your dad lives on spirit through these acts of love and sharing by your daughter.

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    1. Oh trust me, my tribe is a mixed bag of heroes, villains, rascals, and scoundrels. A scattered and fragmented bunch of saints and sinners, this often depending on the day and circumstances. I rather think this is true of most families.

      I was really given quite a gift to have had the opportunity to have such a truly good man as a Father, and it doesn’t get better than growing up turned loose among Christmas Trees.

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  10. Well, isn’t that just the perfect Christmas Story!
    Wow, and to think your Dad did the same thing as your daughter!
    Such inspiration coming from my friend’s family! I love it!

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  11. A beautiful story and there’s nothing in the world that matches the feeling after a thoughtful gift is given by a mystery elf, whether you are the mystery elf or the grateful recipient. Thanks for sharing and proud of your daughter 🙂

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  12. Dear JoHanna, [I sniffle and gasp] What a lovely story, complimented with photographs that enhance and not detract from the post. I am finally inspired with Christmastide joy once again. Thank you for sharing such an intimate insight to you and your family. I’m your new fan, Grinchy Roo

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