How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
We have Finnish neighbors, who have a tradition of Santa visiting the house with a sackful of presents on Christmas eve. I was honored to be that man this year.
Dressed in the full gear, I knocked on the door and was invited in. Their three-year-old daughter, Sofia, was standing there in amazement and delight. They had been talking up this visit for some time and the little girl was bouncing (at a safe distance) with delight.
Sofia had been told that Santa only gave presents to good children, so I looked around, carefully. 'Are there any good children here?' I asked, in my best Santa voice.
Eyes wide open, she pointed at herself, vigorously. I looked at her parents and asked if they were good children. A little squeak escaped from a small person in front of me. I looked down in surprise, 'Sofia!' I cried, 'have you been a good girl?' She nodded at high speed, desperation in her eyes.
Having brought to pot to the boil, I started distributing presents (carefully helped by Sofia's parents). The first present was for Sofia, who came forward, gingerly, and took the gift. With a little help from her grandmother, she removed the paper to find just the little doll's house she wanted. Satisfied, she started to play with it. If I left then, I think she would have been happy.
Meanwhile, Santa was sipping a glass of champagne, although the constraints of the hooked-on beard meant I had to use a straw. This greatly amused the adults and the video camera was pointed my way. Simon and Garfunkel sang 'preserve your memories - they're all that's left you'. I wondered who was enjoying proceedings most, Sofia or the onlooking adults.
Sofia was interrupted by a call to get another present. This time there was less hesitation and the paper was ripped off quickly. And she was back for more, soon after. The next present was a puzzle, as it was not for Sofia. With a little encouragement, she delivered it to her grandmother. Getting the idea that Santa brought presents for people other than her, she happily took on the role of delivery elf and passed the selected presents around to everyone.
Before long, it was time for Santa to go seek out other good children and I left with a hug and a wave from Sofia and a warm glow (which was not just from the champagne).
Emotional events shape our lives and I think Sofia got some important messages there about being good and sharing. She's a lovely child with a lovely family and I know she will grow up well. One day, she may look back and smile, just as I smile now, and take forward the giving spirit of Christmas.
The seemingly magic affect of Santa is quite confused these days. Years ago,
Santa was seen as someone who would judge on whether you had been good or not
and earned your hoped for presents, nowadays he is used as a commercial
character who helps to get parents spending a hell of a lot of money on things
that we just don't need.