I know you get plenty of letters before the main event, but I’m guessing you don’t get very many after. Once the presents have been torn open, wrapping paper flying through the air, and the toys have been fast and furiously played with before being tossed aside for others, the memory of you seems to fade into the background until December rolls around again.
So I am writing this letter to you, Santa, compliments of Miss Penelope and Lucy (and their parents of course), to let you know that you have not been forgotten, and are still very much in our thoughts.
Your presence has been in our homes for weeks now, introduced at a time when a little girl was very much excited about the prospect of finding presents under her Christmas tree and was old enough to understand what you meant. When first asked what she hoped you would bring for her on Christmas, Penny’s only response was “brown.” We were as puzzled as I’m sure you were, but she eventually decided on Belle and a friend, a term she uses for all of her stuffed animals.
You provided us with many opportunities to get messy and creative with glitter and glue, all in the name of celebrating the Christmas season. We sang songs every night before bed in your honor, songs about reindeer paws and foggy nights and naughty and nice lists, after hearing those same songs blaring cheerfully from the speakers of our antique radio all day long. Our Christmas tree, which Penny helped to decorate (as I’m sure you could tell) and loudly exclaimed after each bulb was hung, “Oh my gosh I lub it!” gave Lucy endless hours of entertainment, and was surely one of her main motivations for learning to crawl. You should have seen the gleam in her eye and her happily flapping arms when she was finally able to get up close and personal and grasp for every shiny bulb within reach. You also gave us an excuse to bake too many cookies, a welcome distraction when poor Penny was otherwise miserable with hand foot and mouth disease, and Lucy was cutting her first two teeth.
Thankfully, both girls were on the mend and in good spirits just in time for Christmas Eve, and I’m sure the excitement of your impending arrival was partly to thank. Unfortunately, by that time Dad had also caught hand foot and mouth disease, and we were forced to cancel our grand plans and have a quarantine Christmas. Yet somehow, as the girls donned their new Christmas jammies and Penny proudly placed a plate of cookies and a cold glass of milk near the tree before giddily hopping into bed, our cozy Christmas Eve as a family of four seemed to be just what the doctor had ordered. After watching George Bailey save Bedford Falls for perhaps the millionth time, and still getting that warm tingly holiday feeling when he was declared “the richest man in town,” Mom and Dad sleepily retired to bed, feeling pretty rich themselves.
I wish you could have seen the girls’ reaction on Christmas morning. Lucy of course dove right for the delightfully crinkly tissue paper, but Penny was in such a state of shock that she could only point with a silly grin on her face for several moments. The shock eventually wore off, and she was able to enjoy all of her wonderful gifts, savoring each one before moving on to the next. Her Daniel Tiger stuffed animal and Belle barbie were quite the hit, as was Mr. Potato head. Lucy adored her super soft stuffed puppy- it is now her favorite snuggling companion, and she sweetly nuzzles him with her face the second he is placed into her arms at bedtime.
It truly was a magical Christmas, just the four of us, in our tiny downtown home. Years from now, in spite of the sickness and cancelled plans, I know we will fondly remember this Christmas past as being sweet and cozy and so very special.
So thank you Santa, for playing such an important role in our family holiday, and we look forward to having you back again next year.
The Kiernicki Family