Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

It all starts with Santa. Simple as that. Getting ready for Santa means embracing our inner child, remembering simpler times with eyes glowing in anticipation. For this moment, let’s savor bliss such as looking at colorful outdoor lights, wearing silly sweaters, reading a treasured book, listening to seasonal music, baking, enjoying those and so many more time-honored ways of  ushering in this stunning season. I suggest we celebrate traditions, whatever they may be. Glorious traditions, simple pleasures and passion.

Seems like Thanksgiving just slipped in and slipped out. Once we got to the ‘ber’ months, October starting off with kids, costumes and such. Next, November, hearts filled with gratitude, barely got turkey leftovers consumed, decorations down. Then December, with Christmas, Chanukah and other winter holidays and celebrations commenced. In the “nick of time”. ‘Tis the season, thank goodness, for festivities and also, a reading break, I admit.

My optimism surrounds and protects me with the bright lights of hope and joy. And I know when I reach out to others every day, one way or another, it enriches me more than I could ever hope to do for someone else. But more than that, I just love to laugh, be silly and the holiday season offers me opportunity to play a kazoo while wearing a Santa hat

I think being weird is a fitting distinction and I freely admit, as I finally finish my notoriously horrible wrapping, this is my time to raise our spirits and recognize we have enormous work to do on a variety of fronts. However, we need this time to turn off electronics, be Santa, make crafts, sing songs, read stories together, play Bingo and board games and make new memories. We should continue or create holiday traditions for our continuity of spirit. Going to church or synagogue, working in a soup kitchen, community volunteering, visiting a senior center, traditions are endless in possibility.

I guess what I’ve been thinking is that holiday traditions, menus, decorations are happening just in time, this year, maybe more than usual, at least for me. Maybe, you, as well. I can’t wait to start tracking Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve, so I picked out this wondrous photo with Santa’s reindeer dashing across the night sky, as a starter. I love the bright sky, deep blue, snowflakes and of course the child showing the way.

Well, Naughty or nice? Which list? Definitely we’re all on the good list, thinking well deserved this year, ending this decade with good works, continued servant leadership, both random acts of kindness, and constant generosity.

Did you write your letter to Santa? I did, but I’m not telling what I asked for. Knowing me, it has to do with teachers, kids and families. (Ok, I sneaked in my health, too). Here’s a cute Santa letter story. Of course seeing Mall Santa the day after Thanksgiving with my little grandkids and their mamas. In line, Morgan keeps bugging me for my phone. I say “What for? You are about to see Santa”. Indignantly she responded “I have to show Santa the photo of the doll I want, to make sure he brings the right one.” I said, “Morgan, he’ll know. Santa knows everything”

Cousins, 8 and 5, family love.

I wonder when our girls, cousins, (Sierra, five, from California and Morgan, eight, Eugene), will figure out Mall Santa isn’t real. For now, seeing Santa through their eyes was just grand and Santa was very sweet, I can’t imagine that job, really. I would be a better elf.

When I was little I recall a far different scene than Mall Santa. Our local department store gave away pretty big games and toys to kiddos. I remember the excitement watching the gift come down the slide. Certainly different now, everybody hustling stuff, including bears after Santa, then ‘Build a Bear’ needed for outfits. Notice Sierra has on a Frozen dress and matching bear. The trifecta of adults can’t resist these girls, like mama and nana bears everywhere. Santa’s helpers gave them the bears, a surprising act of kindness.

The ‘real’ Santa Claus is coming to town! Not long, now. And soon after that, we acknowledge the end of this decade, and start of another. This is amazing to me, 2020 here so soon. I already got out my party favors.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll bet self-care has been hit and miss, or not happening lately. It seems like I’ve been rushing from one appointment to another, one activity to another. Fixing broken things, dealing with lost passwords, changing passwords, and of course, so much in the news to digest, or maybe not so much. Depends. I guess what I’ve been thinking is that holiday traditions, menus, decorations are sorely needed this year, maybe more than usual, at least for me.

Eugene wasn’t clobbered like other parts of the country (and world) with Mother Nature wreaking havoc, but weirdly dry and a couple air inversions which grounded me. It’s usually raining this time of year in Eugene, seems like Halloween through May, at least since I moved here five years ago. I can’t say before that. But I was the only one I saw here with umbrella and two levels of raincoats, light and heavy. Duck- like, since we’re Oregon ducks! (U of O, that is). Except people from here barely wear jackets, much less carry an umbrella or wear a raincoat.

Regardless of weather, politics, things we can’t control and problems not of our making, to exert our social conscience, influence big decisions of the day, just enjoy each day, we need to chill out, relax, rejuvenate. I hope we take time to savor the beauty of the season regardless which holiday we celebrate, or if we choose not to celebrate at all. At least let’s take a breath, smile, laugh, look at the beauty around us and the heroes and sheroes in stories we create by our actions or others we thank.

This is the season of gratitude, joy, forgiveness and renewed zest for life.

Santa’s Leader of the pack. Vroom! Kids made decorations.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town! Teacher Tom played Santa last Sunday afternoon to a packed house of littlest kiddos and families. Letters to Santa, cookies and big bag. These kids are so young, their cards were mostly pictures and photos. No tap dancing and big program, just too little. But brave ones managed a song performance and really, just going up with Santa was cool enough. I took dozens of pictures. Teachers Cheryl and Tom are my mentors, my gift. Being at preschool is always my favorite thing, and I had happy tears.

Speaking of happy, I thought I’d share the words to Santa’s song. Have fun singing it right now! The tune is stuck in my head. Imagine, since 1934, Santa’s song is on the holiday hit parade. Here goes:

High five, Santa! Teacher Tom was a grand Santa.

“You better watch out, You better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town! He’s making a list, And checking it twice, Going to find out Who’s naughty and nice- Santa Claus is coming to town! He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good-So be good for goodness sake! Oh! You better watch out, You better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why-Santa Claus is coming to town! With little tin horns And little toy drums, Rooty toot toots And rummy tum tums, Santa Claus is corning to town! With curly head dolls, That toddle and coo, Elephants, boats and kiddie cars, too, Santa Claus is coming to town! The kids in girl and boy land, Will have a jubilee, They’re going to build a toyland town, All around the Christmas tree. So! You’d better watch out, You’d better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why- Santa Claus is corning to town!” (Copyright 1934, Leo Feist, Inc.

First time effort! Cousins made this gingerbread house. No, I didn’t eat any.

I’m no baker. No holiday cookies, banana breads, Pinterest projects, no way. But I love to do simple art and craft projects with the kids, like our toilet paper roll turkeys, easy holiday crafts. However, even with a kit, there was no way I could help the girls make their first gingerbread house, so Daddy modeled it, got them started, then this was their product. A lot of candy and frosting, but voila! A new tradition! Seems like baking with kids and doing crafts are super ways to bond during down time, maybe let’s say, less hectic holiday time, or as part of the festivities, maybe after dinner, or whenever.

Finally, speaking of family traditions. it’s not about a big tree, lots of Chanukah or Christmas presents, the gift of time, experiences lasts a lot longer. Tomorrow we’re going to the ballet. Instead of Nutcracker, we’re going to “Babes in Toyland”. Be sure to see the old movie, if new to you. Change came difficult for Morgan. She said, “Will there be souvenirs, like Nutcracker?” Yes.

Every year one holiday adventure. Memories make great gifts.

Of course, experiences don’t need to cost a thing, the gift of uninterrupted time will be remembered. Time to hold, hug, take a walk, play a game, toss a ball around, or just listen. The gift of time is likely the best gift, ever, and a tradition in itself. Time to stop and just be together, wherever.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Welcome to a new decade. May your 2020 be the best year ever, filled with good health, happiness and love.

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita

I’d love to hear from you:

Twitter: @RitaWirtz

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Instagram: @ritamwirtz

Books: Stories From a Teacher’s Heart, Reading Champs

As always, thanks to BAM for support of my writing.




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