Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Time" for Christmas

By Nichole Giles

I’ve heard there is a local woman whose sole job is to answer letters written to Santa Claus. She claims to receive as many as a thousand letters a day, and she is responsible for answering all of them. She read a few of the letters on the news the other night. Some children ask for toys and electronics. Others ask for more unusual gifts—for their parents to be happy, or their sick relative to be healed.

What an interesting and emotional job. I imagine that there are letters that make her fall on the floor laughing, some that touch her heart—she’ll remember those forever—and others that make her want to hide in a hole and cry.

But as I sat there watching this news story, I got to thinking. If I were going to write a letter to Santa, what would I ask for? I could ask for stuff, because let’s face it, I’m a girl and girls always want something. I might ask for jewelry, or clothes, or maybe some cool, new small appliances. Shoes are always a winner, furniture, home d├ęcor…did I say jewelry already? (I can’t help it I’m a fanatic.) But the thing is, while stuff might make me happy for a few minutes, it’s not really what I want.

What I really want is time. Time with my husband, and my children. Time to do all the things we say we’re going to do every year, but don’t get around to doing. I want to forget about the dishes in the sink, and the piles of laundry, and the dust and crumbs scattered throughout my house, and lay next to my six-year-old until he is comfortable enough to fall asleep. I want to put a bubble over my thirteen-year-old and keep him innocent and young. I want to capture forever the look on the faces of my children when they scramble into the living room on Christmas morning to discover the pile of gifts waiting there for them. I want to eternally preserve the spirit of giving that came upon my daughters when they took their own money to buy gifts for each of their siblings, and then worked hard for a little extra so they could buy a special gift for a special friend.

I’d like to spend a week with my grandmother, listening to (and recording) all the stories she can think to tell me about her life, and the lives of those who came before her. Can I put time on hold while Gary and I run off to a tropical paradise and live in luxury for a while—and not miss a single thing at home?

I wonder if Santa is capable of stopping time. He may be able to deliver a gift to every child in the world in one night, but I think if he could stop time, every mother in the world would add that request to her list. Then we’d never go anywhere. We would never progress. And that would be a shame.

So I guess I’ll take all the time I can get, and fill my memory bank to bursting. Because no matter how much I get, there will never be quite enough time.

Oh, and in case you’re reading Santa, since you probably can’t stop time for me, could I request a novel contract for Christmas? If it’s not too much trouble.


Keith Fisher said...

Oh I think he can stop time, how do you think he gets into all those home in one night? I love the imagery you have given us. I hope you can get those things if only for a moment this Christmas. Merry Christmas

Nichole Giles said...

Thank you, Keith. Merry Christmas to you too...And to all, a good night.