Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, whatever suits you. It has been a hard week for this country. A week full of grief and sadness. I have no new words to share, no pearls of wisdom about this great loss; I just thought I would publish this small story I wrote to help spread some cheer. A story about Santa. A story to remind us all about childhood and the fun and the mischief we got into. Have a great holiday and hold your kids close, but also hug those adults you love. They were once kids too.
When Santa Was Small
T’was the night before Christmas, the kids tucked in tight,
all drifting off to sleep on a cold winter’s night,
with dreams of Santa Claus dancing through their heads,
and the gifts they would find when they sprang from their beds;
wind up robots, sparkly dolls and chocolaty sweets,
new books, bouncy balls, and shiny skates for their feet!
All except George, who sat up straight in his bed,
while visions of black coal filled up his head.
His eyes were big and round, his lips all a quiver,
his legs starting to shake, his body to shiver.
Was it real what he heard? Was it all true?
Santa could see everything that you do?
Like the time he told his mom he ate three cookies but really had four,
or when he taped “You have cooties!” to the girls’ bathroom door…
What about last week when he threw a spitball during lunch,
then kept throwing more, until he had thrown a whole bunch!
George slid down under his covers and hid.
There would be no presents now! Santa saw what he did!
Then his mom walked in and switched on the light,
“What’s wrong George?” She asked. “Something not right?”
George pulled back the blankets, poked out his head,
cleared his throat, took a gulp and quietly said,
“Mom, do you think Santa was ever just a young boy, like me
a boy who worried he might not find a present under the tree?
Do you think Santa ever sat in school, trying so hard not to wiggle,
but then his mouth started to twitch, and his legs started to jiggle?
At lunch did he gobble up his Jell-O, but not his fish sticks or peas,
and did he have to be reminded to say thank you and please?
Do you think he ever passed gas or let out a HUGE burp?
Did he drink his milk fast, through a straw, with a slurp?
Did he leap off the bus with a rip and roar
run up the steps and throw open the door?
Did he holler and jump, sprint and dash all about
until his big sister yelled, “Mom!” and his mom said, “Go out!”
Do you think Santa went out to skate on the ice
spinning and showing off, then falling down…twice?
Mom, do you think Santa tried to be good, but sometimes was bad…
acting up, yelling out, driving everyone mad!
George’s mom smiled, kissed the top of his head,
pulled up the covers, fluffed his pillow and said,
“You know what I think…I think Santa did,
all of those things because he was once a kid.
A kid filled with sillies, with love and with joy,
a kid who made mistakes, like any small boy.
I bet… after Santa fell, his sister helped him back up,
and gave him hot chocolate in his favorite cup.
Then his mom made him a warm bath all full of bubbles
to help him unwind and forget all his troubles.
I think Santa sat and soaked ‘til he was shiny and clean,
and then brushed his teeth ‘til they glistened and gleamed.
He went and found his favorite pajamas with feet
and slid into his bed under soft, cozy sheets.
I think Santa’s dad read him a book and gave him a kiss,
and said, “Go to sleep now, little Saint Nick.”
Then his mom shut the door, leaving on one hall light,
whispering softly, “And don’t let those jingle bugs bite!”
And as he laid in his bed, I think Santa looked to the sky,
and dreamed about flying in a sleigh way up high…
with eight magic reindeer and hundreds of presents with bows,
zooming and zipping through the white Christmas snow.
So yes, I think Santa was once a just a boy,
a boy full of mischief and sillies and joy.
And I think he remembers what its like to be young.
all of the hard stuff and all of the fun,
because Santa, like you, was once little and small,
and Santa knows being a kid, well, that’s the best gift of all.
Anne Sawan 2012