My Christmas was forever changed when I learned at elementary school that Santa Claus wasn’t a real person and he didn’t visit my house every Christmas Eve to bring toys and gifts. He didn’t slide down the chimney and eat the cookies or drink the milk left by the tree. I also realized that the wishes I whispered into Santa’s ear never made it to the elves in the North Pole who I thought were working on my Christmas list.
Even though at the tender age of 8, my disappointment was huge, I got over it and continued our family tradition, sharing the story of Santa Claus with my son. I still believe that children of “all” ages wish for a kind, generous, benevolent figure that rewards our best selves by granting our wishes, not only at xmas, but all year long.
At this point in my life, material gifts are rarely what I want or need. In the past two-thirds of my life, financial rewards usually lived towards the top of my yearly wish list as well as the stuff I wanted. Now in my last one-third of life, material goods and money have drifted towards the bottom of the list. In fact, in the last few years, they haven’t made my “want” list at all.
My needs and wants have shifted to desires that live beyond the physical and are mostly defined by allowing myself to grow into a wiser, more skilled liver of life with a one pointed focus of enjoying more freedom every day. Freedom that releases me from other’s opinion, fear of failure, assumptions quickly made and holding on to past grief.
The spirit of Santa Claus remains part of my life, especially at this time of year. I continue to believe that if I believe I know what I want and am willing to ask while remaining open to what comes along with patience, the answer will appear. I also know that the answer might not be what I expected or asked for, yet my part is to check it out and see if it feels like the next best thing for me. I keep the door of possibilities wide-open until it just feels right to step through.
As the year rapidly comes to a finish, I have a ritual of taking a good look back over the last year to consider what I would like to leave behind. My wish list for Santa Claus has grown very short in the years remaining. My first wish for the New Year is to carry with me the learning that resulted from missteps taken, leaving behaviors, attitudes and mistakes behind. I ask for family and friends to become a larger part of my life and my work to remain in balance with my greatest desire to be free. Lastly, I ask to grow into a more open, accepting person who seeks to do my best each day. So, dear Santa Claus, I have finished my wish list for this year and will continue to hold the belief in asking for what I want, patiently waiting to see what happens next.