Looking Ahead... and Behind (Letters to Santa)

Wow, Thanksgiving is over already.  The older I get, time seems to pass more quickly.  

I can hear my husband pulling all of the Christmas boxes out of the garage.  We have the same day-after-Thanksgiving/Chrismas decorating ritual that I grew up with.  I remember the big cardboard boxes full of decorations that were used from year to year sitting in the living room.  One year I took a big felt marker and wrote a Merry Christmas note to myself on one of the flaps.  Every year thereafter I would write another note.  I don't know when that box got thrown away but I remember how much fun it was to look back over time and see all the messages from a younger me.

Maybe that's where my OCD about preserving memories began.

When my daughter Emily, who is now 24, was four years old, we started a Christmas tradition that lasted until she learned the truth about Santa Claus.  I got the idea from a friend of mine who did it with her three children. 

Emily dictated a letter to Santa and I wrote it down for her, then she signed it (until, of course, she could write one herself).  We put it with the cookies and milk that we'd leave on the hallway table for Santa's visit on Christmas Eve.  Miraculously, the next morning the cookies and milk would be partially consumed and there would be a message from Santa for Emily!  In that message Santa would compliment her on things she should be proud of and maybe make a suggestion for the coming year.  We, of course, saved these from year to year and now it's a "tradition" to post all the letters and a Christmas picture from each year on our kitchen cabinets.  Each one gives us a little glimpse back... and we sigh a little.  Time does pass too quickly.  It's hard to believe I've gone from the little girl with the black marker to an empty-nester fondly remembering my own daughter's Christmases.

Here's the letter from 1994 - Emily was six and she really wanted "Tattoodles" and a "Dance 'n' Twirl Barbie". Santa had asked her to use her "nice voice" to Mommy and Daddy the previous year, so she made sure she mentioned it in her letter!

Santa's response

And of course, a picture of her reading the note from Santa which was left by the cookies and milk in the hallway.

Six years of letters on display


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