It occurred to me this holiday season that I have not written you a letter in over 20 years. As a kid, I would leave a note for you, with a glass of milk, some cookies, and some treats for your reindeer. I don't recall any gifts that I specifically asked for, though I do remember how excited I would feel going to bed on the night of December 24th. I would wake up several times during the night thinking I heard the reindeer on the roof, or jingle bells, or footsteps down stairs leaving presents under the tree. Every night in December we would call a special phone number (from our house phone - remember those?) to hear a message from you about what you were working on or where you were at that moment. I believed.
Now at 32, I don't make Christmas lists any more. I am very fortunate to be able to have the means to get what I need or want, within reason, for myself. However, I do have one request that I am hoping you can help me with that I have been having a bit of trouble getting on my own.
For the new year, I'd like to be able to capture some of that child-like wonder I had the last time I wrote to you so many years ago. I'd like to believe again - in the goodness of the world, in magic, in our ability to do anything we want with our lives. I feel like "No" is all around us. We are strangled by rules and hierarchy and people who tell us what's the "right way" or the "wrong way" to do things. It seems that we have lost our collective smile in the face of very hard times that will likely get harder.
I'm hoping you can help me be a little bit stronger, a little bit more hopeful, and a little bit more daring. Can you help me take a bit more risk, go out on a limb from time to time, and have more faith in myself and in people in general? I'd like to do my part in the coming year to generate more joy - for myself and in my community. This will take some focus on my part - even on days when I'm down, I'd like to be able to remember to count my blessing, of which there are many. And most of all, I'd like to have the courage to create the life I imagine for myself.
I know you're busy tonight, with lots of children around the world to visit. But if you find yourself with a small gap of time as you're flying over the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I'd love to have you stop in for some cookies and milk. Safe travels.
The photo above can be found at: http://www.treehugger.com/santa-reading283746234.gif