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Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Letter to My Daughter From Santa

I said I wouldn't do it. I vowed that this year would be different.

I really, REALLY believed I would change.

But I didn't. I am still the same person who gets sucked into the frenzy of Christmas shopping, gifting and shenanigans that I say every year that I deplore.

It's not that I don't love the joy of giving gifts at Christmas. I do. In fact, it's one of the few times I buy something special and beautiful and what I hope is very meaningful to every person on our list.

It's just that, when I think about my kids specifically, I question whether I am doing it right.

I come from a childhood where I can remember most every toy I was given. While toys and games were not plentiful, each one I had was cherished and appreciated. The clothes were revered and worn till they were threadbare or outgrown. Even then, the next time my family would go to India, we would give it to family members in the remote villages of Northeastern India, where they were worn even further.

I have memories of my Holly Hobby First Oven (My brother bought it for my fifth birthday after saving money from his paper route).

My first pair designer jeans - they were Jordache's (My sister saved up for me from her first job at Macy's). I was only 5 and really didn't know why I was so excited. (Note: On that gift, I think my sis was more excited than me. I was like a real American Girl Doll she could dress up that talked and pooped and everything. Just the Indian version.)

Apparently she wanted toys too.

My husband John grew up in a family where Christmas was everything I ever romanticized it to be. Full of presents, holiday songs, roasts and stockings and all that seemed merry. He talks about the extravagance of his holidays and how special they were growing up.

And I get that.

So every year we go back and forth on what to get the kids. On the ideas - I start small, he starts big. We end up somewhere on the other side of even his big ideas, not the middle, but GARGANTUAN.

Apparently once I start shopping and getting into the true Christmas spirit, I become unfocused and quickly forget my intentions to keep things simple.

And they end up being far from simple.

My daughter is four and my son is two. We are trying to teach them the difference between want and need. I feel like we missed the mark this year a little.

I wrote my daughter a letter to Santa that I want to give her on Christmas night. Some may call me a buzzkill. Some may say this is too much for a four year old.

But I know her. And I kind of think she will get it. And I hope that as she starts getting IT more, maybe I can remember what IT is really about.

Dear Shaila,

Well if you are getting this letter, it is because you made it on the NICE list this year. Congratulations! Your brother Nico made it too! I know that your mommy and daddy are very proud of you and so am I.

This year you got many presents. Too many to count, I even think. But I want you to know that Christmas is not just about getting gifts. It is about being grateful for what you have and showing that by being the best person you can be to others.

You will not always get so many gifts on Christmas. There will be Christmases where there are several presents to open and there will be Christmases where there are fewer gifts.

Don’t ever judge your Christmas by how many presents you get.

One day you will come to know that the best Christmases come from giving. From giving your heart, giving your love and giving your generosity to others.

There are some children in this world who will not receive presents this year. While it’s true that some ARE on the naughty list, what is even more true is that there are some places in this world that even Santa can’t even reach.

Many of these children not only need toys to bring smiles to their faces, they need food. Some don’t even have water to bathe in. Or even drink!

Will you do me a favor and say a prayer for them? I pray for them too, every night with Mrs. Claus. I know it’s not enough but I do try.

One day your mother and your father will talk to you more about what Christmas is about. While I hope you enjoy your many toys this year and that you take extra special care of them, I also hope that you think about something.

Something very, VERY important.

That is this.

Love does not come to you in presents.

Happiness comes from more than just things.

You are more than all of these gifts will ever be. No matter how expensive, extravagant, fun or pretty.

It’s easy to get distracted about what matters most in life, most of all at Christmastime.

If I can tell you one thing right now, which I believe from what I see and from my reports from my good Elf, Brimley, it is this.

The greatest thing about you is your kindness and your grace. Your amazing desire to think of the whole world as your best friend. I have seen the way that you can never answer who your best friend is, because you want to be the best friend you can be to each of your friends.

While I brought you gifts today, just know that what you possess is one of the greatest gifts you will ever have. Don’t ever lose it.

Shaila, presents will come and go. You will outgrow toys.

Never, NEVER outgrow your spirit.

I know this is a long letter. But it is very important that I got this message to you. Please continue to be the best sister you can be your brother, Nico. He loves you very much (though you are right, he doesn't always know how to show it).

You are very, very lucky to have each other.

Listen to your elders and take care of yourself. You will get another letter like this again from me, probably in a year from now. (If you are nice, that is!)

Always remember to believe. In Christmas, in Santa and most of all…



Santa Claus

I hope you all have an amazing holiday.

Merry Christmas!



Clearbluewater3 said...

I'm a long time reader, first time commentor (i think).

But this brought tears to my eyes. Your kids are lucky to have you! (and Santa ;) )

webb said...

You nailed it again, Kiren. Christmas in the U.S. is impossible to contain, and we all want more (and better) for our children - even if maybe, just maybe, it's not the best for them.

You remind me of some (almost) classmates of yours who said a few evenings ago that they are giving their children "almost nothing" because "Grandma is into quantity". They were clearly frustrated that while they seem to be able to control things, her mother cannot and they feel that they are missing that good opportunity - the one you took with your letter.

As they get older and the cuteness is a bit less, some of the outside players will do a little bit less, and maybe you can, too. Or not! Merry Christmas, Sister! xoxo

Masala Chica said...

@Clearbluewater3 - Thank you so much for your beautiful comment. I don't know how much of an impact it made on Shaila - I think it was a bit much after the chaos of yesterday, but maybe in the end, it was more for me? I have to say that the best gift they got in my mind was a bookshelf each for their rooms and some great books to line the shelves. Again, this was probably more for me because I was getting tired of reading the same stories again and again.

Are you seeing a theme here? ;-)

I hope you are having a great holiday and hope to get to know you this year.

@Webb - Hey sister, for some reason, I can never reply to your emails directly? I always get Noresponse@blogger. This does nothing to help me spread more christmas cheer.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from a sister with another mother.

GAUTAM said...



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