I remember as a kid always seeing the pictures of Santa Claus, and being fascinated by his appearance. He was dressed in his classic white trimmed, red suit. He had a great white beard, and he loved giving gifts to children. What could be better?
I always remember seeing his sleigh filled to the brim with toys, for all those good boys and girls! But yet I knew a secret about Santa, he didn’t use that big red bag for gifts. No sir, he used a big black Hefty Bag. You know, the kind you rake your leaves into, or put your grass clippings. That kind. I learned that if you didn’t have a chimney, he would drop by your house late on Christmas eve, knock a few times and disappear. Sometimes when there was snow you could see his footprints, and I think occasionally he brought a few elves to help.
Growing up with a single mom who didn’t have much money you learned to appreciate things. So when some kids at school thought it was weird we didn’t have a chimney, or that santa left my gifts in a Hefty Bag, I was grateful. Santa came and brought happiness to our home in times when I would see my mother the most stressed. When we would over hear her talking about not knowing what to do. I knew. I knew that Santa would come through for us.
Somewhere in the space between her two or three jobs my mom would have us write a wishlist for Santa. This was the place where dreams and magic combined. This was the letter that helped him know what we wanted. And though like every kid we wanted the big items too, my mother would remind us to be modest in what we asked for so Santa would have enough for all the boys and girls. We would also put our shoe size down and our shirt and pant size. I think this was for Mrs. Claus to help Santa.
You see I knew his secret. I had heard adults talk about a Secret Santa at church and at school. I felt so proud to be one of the kids in the know. I knew that sometimes he had to leave your gifts on the doorstep in a big Hefty Bag and move to the next house. So when late on Christmas eve we would hear the door knock we would wait a few seconds and then run to the door. You see, we knew that Santa didn’t want to be seen, for he does this as an act of love.
Whenever we reached the door and saw the bags we would shout with joy!! My mother taught us manners so we would always yell a big thank you, because he couldn’t have gone that far in 10 seconds! We just wanted Santa to know how much we appreciated him. I never really understood why my mom would cry when santa would come every year. She would always say thankyou in a reverent whisper. As a kid I knew that parents cried at odd times and I didn’t always understand.
Now as an adult I get to help Santa sometimes. Circumstances are much different now. I don’t worry about whether or not we’ll have food, or if we can buy some shoes when they wear out. I also understand the struggle, and the tears, I understand my mothers tears. I will forever be grateful to the Secret Santa, the Hefty Bag carrying jolly old elf!