My name is Elsa. I don’t believe in Santa Claus any more. I am nine years old. My mommy and daddy buy me toys from Wal-Mart and Target. My mommy went to the store really early on Black Friday and another car hit her bumper and she got really mad because she wasn’t the first one in the store. She had to call a wrecker and then Daddy’s face turned all red and they yelled at each other. But I think it will be OK at Christmas because they were laughing the other night while they drank their wine and played Christmas music. I like Christmas and it’s OK that Santa isn’t real because it will still be fun… I think.
My friend just called with a dream she had last night. In her dream, she and her ex-husband decided to adopt a child. They arrive at the agency where she notices a beautiful little girl in a wheelchair. The child has Muscular Dystrophy. She moves toward the child and embraces her. The girl reaches up her thin arms and hugs my friend with all her strength and love.
My name is Manuel and I am sixteen. My mom doesn’t have enough money for Christmas this year, and that’s OK by me. It would be nice if Marcia could get a doll or somethin’, but who knows? Christmas don’t mean nothin’, really. Mom has to work at the restaurant Christmas Eve, no surprise there. I’ll probably just go hang out with the dudes, you know. It’s just like any other day.
This year Paul and I are “going green” for the holidays. We’re not into shopping that much. In fact, we don’t believe in consumerism. We’re going to make handmade gifts for most of the family. We’ll be traveling down to Cincinnati for Christmas. I am already trying to figure out how to be nice to my sister. Every time we get together, we start snipping at each other. She’s so jealous that Paul and I have each other and she doesn’t have anyone. I’m going to remember the meaning of Christmas this year.
Christmas is all about the Christ child. I wish people would remember that. Christmas is about Jesus. That baby in the manger. If people would just invite Jesus into their hearts, our world would be a better place. When people say “Happy Holidays” I just want to tell them–it’s about the Baby. It’s about asking Christ into your hearts and lives. It’s about something new being born in you. It’s about being saved by the innocence of that child. Christmas is Christ. We can’t forget that, ever.
We don’t celebrate Christmas. John is Buddhist, and, frankly, I’m agnostic. We know most of the U.S. is celebrating, though, so we often make a huge pot of stew or soup. Then we light candles and share what we’re thankful for. I am thankful that we live in a country where we can all believe what we want. Can you imagine living somewhere where people tell you what you must believe?
I used to light candles during this season. To remember. To give hope. But this year I’m in a nursing home. No candles this year. I still have hope, though. And I have gratitude for a long life. And that Marsha will come on Christmas with her kids. It will be a good Christmas.
I found out last month that I have cancer. Guess I just don’t feel like celebrating this year. Why me? Then again, why not me? It’s funny, you never think it’s going to happen to you. You always think it will be the next guy. But this time I got the lottery. Lucky me. But, you know, maybe I’ll go downtown and help them pass out food or somethin’. You know. Get my mind off things. Try to remember that there are others out there who are hurting, too.
Mama, when is Santa Claus coming? When? When? Is it Christmas yet?
The radio sings, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know–” but this year we’re going to Georgia and it will be a green Christmas, won’t it? What does Christmas mean to me, you ask? Christmas means opening my heart a little more, remembering that something is more important than our daily struggles. It’s about making an inner space, like a manger, where a baby can be born anew and awaken any dozing of the heart.
Christmas is about family. That’s it. It’s about all of us getting together and eating turkey and stuffing and ham and mashed potatoes and asparagus casserole and pumpkin pie and we’re all laughing and remembering the old times and watching the grandkids play. It’s about remembering what’s important. And for me, it’s family.
Christmas is about Rudolph and he leads that sleigh with his bright shiny red nose and we bake cookies and leave them on the kitchen table except last year Daddy ate one and then Santa only had two. This year Daddy can’t eat one!
Christmas means the guys and I will still be in Afghanistan and–if it’s anything like last year–we’ll sit around and remember our families and special memories of past holidays. We don’t get too serious, though. We can’t. We gotta keep up moral. You don’t want anyone to get too sad.
Bill here. What is Christmas, you ask? Christmas is when I don’t have to work for three whole days, thank God.
Jake, age 10. “I ain’t believin’ in Santa no more.”
Kaitlin, age 4. “I believes in Santa Claus with my wholest heart!”
Kathy, age 54: Merry Christmas to you all from Lake Superior Spirit!
If someone asked you to describe Christmas or the holiday season in a few sentences what would you say? What does it mean to you? (You can share your age if you like. Or not. )