"What treasured gifts this little girl has given to Santa..."
The conventional thinking is that Santa gives the gifts that others receive. That is only a part of the story. The gifts that Santa receives are so incredibly powerful, that it is sometimes hard to think about them without this old soul tearing up. The loss of innocents this week has made every encounter with a young “believer” and even the “non-believers” more poignant.
I peer out from behind the false beard glued to my face with a caustic “prosthetic adhesive,” hoping that each young one that I encounter will believe—at least for this year—and, they all want to believe. Saturday, I met a little one named Pearl. She was just nine, but an older child had already told her that I was not real. Her parents told me that she understood, but that it didn’t matter, she still wanted to see me. So here they were at La Tienda at Eldorado, our little shopping center out where Santa lives. It is not exactly the North Pole, but quite lovely in the most recent covering of snow.
Pearl came because, in her heart, she wanted me to be real and I wanted to be real for her. This is a time when I want the innocence of these young children to last forever, though I know it can’t. Pearl’s decision to make me real, for at least this year, was a gift I will never forget. We didn’t do much. Of course, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and, of course, I forgot as soon as she told me. I have learned that what is more important is that the parents know. So, here I am repeating in a stage whisper, so the parents CAN hear and nodding in agreement —not so much for Pearl but for them.
We didn’t do much together, just decorated cookies and talked as much with our eyes as words and I knew in my heart that she believed—at least for now.
What treasured gifts little Pearl has given me—the gift of joy, the gift of innocence, the gift of believing.