Not the What but the Who

We all know about Mrs. Claus. That faithful partner of Santa. The one, somewhat pushed to the side in stories and songs, who for many, has very little role than the handy side kick of the famous toy giver. I knew Mrs. Claus, and, as a child she was more real, more important and way cooler than the big guy in red velvet would ever be.
You see, Mrs. Claus, for anyone who isn’t familiar, goes to all the houses of children who don’t live in traditional nuclear families. She goes to those kids houses whose parents are divorced, to families who celebrate on days other than December 25th and to families who have a uniqueness to them that doesn’t fit the ‘traditional’ understanding of the Man in Red. She isn’t like Santa, only sticking to one day and one method of entering a home – she is far more creative, more versatile and chooses a slightly less fattening diet.
It wasn’t that I was against or anti-Santa in any way, he just didn’t play any sort of role in my life. He didn’t come to my house and I didn’t mind.
But Mrs. Claus, now, she was amazing. I liked her! She came to every kid’s house, regardless of their behavior. Never once did I hear of a naughty and nice list (thank goodness, because I had {have} a reasonable amount of attitude) everyone got something from her – not a pile of presents, not over flowing stockings, just a gift, a token of that special day – and an orange, I have no idea why she always left a disgusting orange! But that’s what she did, and I loved that. She received letters, but not lists, and she drank Brandy, not milk. In order to let the Reindeer rest and prepare, she took out her trusty Moose Stanley and the two would go to homes and visit families like mine.
I loved that Santa worked for other families, he just never worked for mine.
In fact, when I celebrated with my mom’s family, Santa never really came there either. We did have an angel box, a magical, mysterious box that showed up on whatever day we celebrated Christmas, and in that box we got gifts for our family. We got movies to share, huge boxes of chocolates, maybe a Sundae Kit or board game or a bunch of flavoured popcorn, because the angels didn’t need a special date either. They could simply make a box appear in the middle of the night, a box that distinguished who we were as a family. A box that pointed out what made our little crew special and unique and worth celebrating. We never saw the angels, they never took anything or required anything, but for some reason they always knew those little things we enjoyed most as a family. We never waited for Santa, but the Angels always came.

Now, as an adult my family have our own special traditions. Our own ways of celebrating and gathering together. We worship at a Candle Light Service at our church, we celebrate Mikulas at the beginning of December, we eat big meals and we go on midnight scavenger hunts – we have our own things. Santa is great and he’s an important part of many people’s celebrations, he’s just never been part of mine.
Yet, I don’t think it matters all that much how you celebrate. Whether it’s on December 6th with little tokens and treats, or on December 25th with a mountain of presents under the tree. Whether it’s with big meals or with Church services or with Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukah or ‘thank goodness, we get two weeks off to sleep in’ whatever your families do over this month, I don’t think it matters all that much. Whether it’s a religious time, a family time, a time for St. Nicholas or Santa or Jesus – whatever it is that makes your family unique. Whether it’s a nuclear family, a single parent family, whether it’s extended or divided by distance, whatever is going on right now, I don’t think it matters a whole lot WHAT you do. What matters is the WHO. Who you are with, who do you celebrate or enjoy the changing season with. Who do you ring in the New Year with, or open presents with, or eat pancakes with – those are your people. Naughty or nice, traditional or contemporary, atheist or religious, those are what make your families who they are and that is worth celebrating. In your own way, on your own days.
I hope at this time of year you look around at those closest to you. Those family members, friends, people you care about and you make time with them. You do something that fits your family and your beliefs. Celebrate what matters – celebrate love and togetherness. Celebrate peace and joy and strength. Celebrate the challenges you have over come and your hope for the New Year. Celebrate however you want, but celebrate – no matter where or when or how, focus on the WHO and surround yourself with love this Season.
Seasons Greetings to you and yours.

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