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Sarah Maxwell

Christmas of yore

On Monday, we discovered we had to type all of Tonica Grade School’s letters to Santa into our system so they could be placed and published for Friday’s Tonica News. Students from kindergarten through fifth grade submitted their questions for Santa, their Christmas lists, their family traditions and other various thoughts.

Reading their letters was tough at times, but their earnestness and sincerity showed through regardless of legibility. Kids asked Santa about Rudolph and his other, less famous reindeer, Mrs. Claus and of course the elves who are responsible for making lots and lots of toys. How they will make some gifts on the lists, I will never know.

Plenty of these kids said their favorite holiday memory revolved around the aspect of seeing family. This gave me hope for our future generations. In today’s society where we are so busy and wrapped in our own lives and drama it is good to see families still find the time to come together and celebrate the Christmas season. I know I look forward to the time I spend with my family more than anything else during Christmas.

But it was the Christmas lists that took me most by surprise. I remember some of my lists and they did not include the hottest new tech gadgets. I asked for dolls, books, movies and clothes. I remember getting American Girl dolls for Christmas and my Nunny making me a whole wardrobe and little doll bedding. And books, I always loved getting books. I would love nothing more than to curl up in my bedroom with a book and an endless supply of hot chocolate when I was younger. Wait, I still love that. Then there was the occasional movie, I was, and still am, such a Harry Potter fanatic so we got those movies and others. It gave us something to watch during the day while we played with our new gifts before dinner.

In comparison, I like to think my Christmas lists and letters to Santa were tamer than what I read. Seven or 8 year olds were asking for phones. Kids are asking for iPods, TVs and all sorts of other things. I don’t think I got my first Mp3 player until I was in eighth grade or high school even. I didn’t get my own phone till I turned 16, once I got my driver’s license. You see my parents wanted to make sure in case of an emergency I could reach the proper authorities and alert them to the problem. And maybe that’s because growing up, I knew I wouldn’t get a toy every time I went to the store with my mom, but she always made sure to tell me “I’ll always get you a book,” so I didn’t ask.

Maybe as time has gone on values have changed and children no longer see Santa as a magical, mystical man traveling through the night to deliver gifts to the good little girls and boys and coal to the bad. Maybe we, as a society, need to step back from the all too alluring technical marvels being churned out by Samsung, Apple and Sony year after year.

This year my Christmas list, because even at 23 I still send one out, includes lots of books, a tea pot and time. Time with my family to reconnect and share in the joy we all deserve to have this Christmas. I hope you all take time to disconnect from the electronic world we are so engrossed in and share a cup of good cheer with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas.

BCR Copy Editor Sarah Maxwell can be reached at smaxwell@bcrnews.com.