Saturday, December 6, 2008
I Love Santa
Here he is, my own Jolly Old Elf. This Santa Pin was hand carved by an artist down in my country home that I left several years ago. When I looked at the faces he carved, this one just smiled back at me, and brought back memories for me of when my own father played Santa for our entire school one year. There is something in the eyes, eyebrows and nose that reminded me of my father.
I was 10 and in the 5th grade. My smart alec neighbors figured it out right away who the Santa was, and told me, "your father is Santa". No, I wouldn't believe them! I kept finding excuses in my mind how it couldn't be him. Even when I saw our family car on the parking lot, I refused to believe! This was real Santa, not my own father.
So that is one reason why I love Santa.
I used to lay awake for hours on Christmas Eve, waiting for that magical time to come and go. I know I heard the rustling in the living room around the Christmas tree. When the rustling stopped, I stole away from my bed and went out to check what was under the tree. One year it was a sled, one year it was skates. One year I almost got caught by my father, so I froze, daring not to even breathe, until he went back to bed and I heard his snoring resume.
So now, I remember my love of Santa in this way. I have quite a collection of Santas as my home decor theme. This is my collection right now. I put them all together on my fake fireplace every Christmas. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see them, look at each jolly face, and remember my strong belief in the Santa Claus story that I held on to for so long.
These are some of the handpainted Santas and St. Nicholas images I have in my collection. A local painter from my country home did the hand painted ones. She was very good at capturing the essence of each culture's depiction of Santa or St. Nick. She handpainted beautiful faces, and then added so many details to each image to remind people of the ideas that each culture surrounded their image of the Spirit of Christmas with. She included typed labels on the back, telling the story that each culture held about their image. They are very informative.
The Polar Express Santa is in the rocking chair right by the base of the fireplace.
When the book "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Alsburg came out in the late 1980's, I grabbed the book, and it instantly became a favorite of mine and now of my grandchildren. I remember the first time I read the book, I sobbed through the last page. Santa says, "Remember, the spirit of Christmas lies in your heart". That first year that the book came out was a bad year for me, and Christmas was something to be endured. I DID NOT HEAR THE SILVER BELL THAT YEAR.
If you have read the book or seen the movie, you know that the symbol of the silver bell is the sign of a believer or non-believer and if the spirit of Christmas truly is residing in your heart. If you can hear the silver bell, you believe and you have the spirit. The movie tells us that most adults don't hear the bell. I know there were years when I couldn't hear the bell. I'm trying hard to hear it this year. I want to recapture that wonder and awe I had as a child, and recapture my feeling of expectation and excitement that I had then "when Christmas comes to town" (very popular tune from The Polar Express--see YouTube for samples.)
Perhaps I can experience this same feeling by experiencing Christmas and seeing it through the eyes and viewpoint of darling grandchildren. For them the story is real, and they can hear the silver bells. Hopefully, this will hold true for many years to come! I hope they love Santa as much as I did. I still love the Jolly Old Elf.