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A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

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Published by Donnette Davis

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Published by: Donnette Davis on Nov 30, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/16/2009

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 By Jay Frankston
 
There's nothing so beautiful as a child's dream of SantaClaus. I know, I often had that dream. But I was Jewish andwe didn't celebrate Christmas. It was everyone else's holidayand I felt left out ... like a big party I wasn't invited to. Itwasn't the toys I missed, it was Santa Claus and a Christmastree.So when I got married and had kids I decided to make upfor it. I started with a seven-foot tree, all decked out withlights and tinsel, and a Star of David on top to soothe thosewhose Jewish feelings were frayed by the display and, for them, it was a Hanukah bush. And it warmed my heart to seethe glitter, because now the party was at my houseand everyone was invited.But something was missing, something big and round and jolly, with jingle bells and a ho! ho! ho! So I bought a bolt ofbright red cloth and strips of white fur and my wife made mea costume. Inflatable pillows rounded out my skinny frame,
 
but no amount of makeup could turn my face into merry oldSanta.After much effort I located a mask maker and he had justthe thing for me, a rubberized Santa mask, complete withwhiskers and flowing white hair. It was not the real thing but itlooked genuine enough to live up to a child's dream of St.Nick.When I tried it on something happened. I looked in themirror and there he was, big as life, the Santa of mychildhood.There he was . . . and it was me. I felt like Santa, like Ibecame Santa. My posture changed. I leaned back andpushed out my false stomach. My headtilted to the side and my voice got deeper and richer and a"MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE."For two years I played Santa for my children to their mixedfeelings of fright and delight and to my total enjoyment. Andwhen the third year rolled around, the Santa in me hadgrown into a personality of his own and he needed moreroom than I had given him. So I sought to accommodatehim by letting him do his thing for other children. I called uporphanages and children's hospitals and offered his servicesfree. But, "We don't need Santa, we have all sorts ofI went around lookingat department storeimpersonationssitting on their throneswith children on their laps and flash-bulbsgoing off, and I wasn'tsatisfied with the waythey looked either.
 
donations from foundations and . . . thank you for calling."And the Santa in me felt lonely and useless.Then, one late November afternoon, I went to the mailboxon the corner of the street to mail a letter and saw this prettylittle girl trying to reach for the slot. She was maybe six yearsold. "Mommy, are you sure Santa will get my letter?" sheasked. "Well, you addressed it to Santa Claus, North Pole, sohe should get it," the mother said and lifted her little girl soshe could stuff the letter into the box. My mind began towhirl. All those thousands of children who wrote to SantaClaus at Christmas time, whatever became of their letters?One phone call to the main post office answered myquestion. They told me that, as of the last week of November,an entire floor of the post office was needed to store thoseletters in huge sacks that came from different sections of thecity.The Santa in me went ho! ho! ho! and we headed down tothe post office. And there they were, thousands uponthousands of letters, with or without stamps, addressed toSanti Claus, or St. Nick, or Kris Kringle, scribbled on wrappingpaper or neatly written on pretty stationery.And I rummaged through them and laughed. Most of themwere gimme, gimme, gimme letters, like "I want a pair ofroller skates, and a Nintendo, and a GI Joe, and a personalcomputer, and a small portable TV, and whatever else youcan think of." Many of them had the price alongsideeach item . . . with or without sales tax.Then there were the funny oneslike: "Dear Santa, I'vebeen a good boy all of last year,but if I don't get what I want, I'llbe a bad boy all of next."
 

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