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Santa letters remind of the innocence of childhood

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POSTED: January 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that kids make Christmas seem more like, well Christmas.

It’s their joyous and fleeting belief in a red-suited man who pilots a reindeer powered sleigh around the world bringing toys that infects us cynical old adults and makes us young at heart again, even if we don't realize it.

And since I don’t have kids, my time to be young again, or at least see the world through a child’s eyes, doesn't come often.

But it happened this week as I typed up letters to Santa from local school kids.

All are a treat to read, even the ones from kindergarten kids that are well nigh impossible to figure out. My thanks to the teachers who helped by deciphering the code in advance. And if you think it's easy being a teacher, try finding words in things that look more like triangles and spiders than they do letters of the alphabet.

Some letters make you laugh, like one in which a kid asked in rapid fire succession for a cell phone, an ATV four-wheeler, "a million dollars" and Rudolph.

A girl asked for a zebra (and the barn to house it in), only to note in a PS that while she knew she wouldn't get a zebra, it was her right to ask for one anyway.

Then there was the kid who said he’s been bad all year, but still hit Santa up for several gifts. He'll probably wind up running Richmond Hill in a few years.

But all, even the comedians, managed to be polite in tone. Apparently the word on the preteen street hasn't changed from the time I was a kid – you don’t dare disrespect old Saint Nick. That meant lots of inquiries into Santa’s health, the well-being of his reindeer – Rudolph remains an overwhelming favorite – and promises to leave out milk and cookies.

Still, there were differences in approach from letter to letter. Some kids waited until they got Santa good and buttered up with compliments and assurances they had been as good as they possibly could before getting to the important part, which as I seem to recall was asking for loot.

Others asked for stuff first then rolled out the Emily Post act.

Of course, kids will always be kids, even when they’re trying to be angels. As I typed up one girl’s letter (she asked for a puppy) I noticed she’d drawn a little brown puppy, presumably to let Santa know what she was talking about.

It was going to the bathroom.

Sadly, not all the letters were as fun to read. Some kids asked for things they shouldn’t have to ask for and wouldn’t have to if it were a perfect world.

Like getting their parents back together. Or ending the war in Iraq. The more cynical among us might shake our head and scoff at asking Santa for such stuff. But that's because we no longer see what we once knew for certain as kids.

At Christmas, the innocent hopes of children should trump our grown up rationales, if only for the day. Besides, who could doubt this world would be a better place if Santa really had the power that only children invest in him?

Not me. Merry Christmas.

 

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