When do you start your season?
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During a conversation with another Santa over the last year, the question was raised about whether or not children were changing with the times. This brought on some interesting discussion to say the least. At that time I truly doubted that children would ever totally change, and I affirmed that the simplest gifts would always be the most played with.
Then began the 2010 Season. I will admit that I was a bit discouraged when day after day I was asked for Ipads, Iphones, and other various and sundry electronics - some of which this Santa had never heard of. In fact, the more I listened I noticed that it was coming from children of all ages. I would have expected it from the pre-teens or beyond, but a four year old little boy? Very curious.
One night during a rather busy line-up, I was asked by a seven year old girl for one of these new fangled gizmos. I just had to ask her. "What is it about this new gadget that interests you?" I asked. "It does everything," she said and smiled. Then I rather jokingly said, "But what will you children think when we go back to wooden toys?" She shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
This put my mind to thinking that imagination was disappearing. I remember the Christmases of my youth and how all that the children ever asked for were toys that required this feature. Many was the time that my sister, my cousins and I would sit and use our imagination to play games for hours. We were residents of the "Imagine Nation" as Edmund Gwenn called it. But after my conversation with that young one (among all of the other gadget requests) I was beginning to think that kids had changed. They had no use for imagination or its fruits. If a toy can play with itself, then all the better.
Of course, I was stopped in my tracks come Christmas Eve. I have always spent that night of nights in my red suit. I had done some deliveries and had made my way to my family gathering. Of course, Uncle Ho Ho (as the nieces and nephews call me) had to hand out the presents. All of them had made out like bandits, and that was just from what their aunt, Michelle, and I had given them. Toys galore all over the living room. As the hours of Christmas Eve ticked away I sat in an easy chair with my nieces and nephews playing intently together. Then it happened. instead of the toys they so wanted for Christmas, the young ones had found something better to pass the time with. They had discovered the wrapping and the boxes.
New conclusion, the magic of childhood is here to stay. Children are always going to be the product of their times, ie in their wants and in their words and actions. However, deep down they will always be children. Though they might ask Mom and Dad (and Santa) for the gadget they saw on television or the one that their little friends are talking about, deep down they will always be children and have more fun with the boxes. That is why coloring books, modeling clay, dollies, and trains never go out of style. I would never wish it any other way, and as Santa I am proud to be a part of that magic. It is what makes all of us real in their eyes. May we adults relearn a few things from the children in our lives, and may we remember and never lose the magic.