Five Ways to a Meaningful Christmas

Five Ways to a Meaningful Christmas

I lost my husband on September 11th, 2001 – that awful day etched in the memory of millions. He was there. Then he was gone. No goodbye. That first Christmas without him was as dark and empty as could be. There was no cheer, no celebration, no light to speak of for me. It was a dark, sad time. Christmas had always been special before. Each year we would fill our calendar and our home with the brightness of the season. We had music and food and decorations. We did everything that you probably do – except celebrate it right.Read more

The One Secret to a More Organized Christmas

The One Secret to a More Organized Christmas

If there is a common wish for Christmas that goes unanswered every year it would have to be celebrating an organized Christmas. From the food to the decorations to managing all the parties and events it seems that no matter what efforts are made there seems to be not enough time, too much to do and no way to fit it all in. On the Internet entire forums and websites are dedicated to the making the organized Christmas. There are planners and calendars galore. People share pictures, menus, recipes, patterns, and resources for everything Christmas. But for many the organizedRead more

Heart of the Servant Santa

Heart of the Servant Santa

Mrs. Claus’ eyes were full of tears by the time I arrived at the hospital. Santa stood there stunned, as if hit with unbelievable news. “What is it?” I asked. Ryan had just hours to live. Santa and Mrs. Claus had met the boy just months previous but it was only within the past few days that things seriously took a decline and hope was lost. These are the calls Santa hates to take. How do you present the hope and love and brightness of Santa Claus to a dying child? “Why am I here?” I asked, nearly sucking inRead more

Secrets of the Servant Santa

Secrets of the Servant Santa

“I recognize that suit,” I said nonchalantly at the dry cleaner as I was doing business. There, on a hanger and freshly bagged, was Santa’s suit. Her eye brows lowered and she looked at me suspiciously. “How do you know that suit?” she asked. “Well it belongs to Santa,” I said. “Everyone knows that.” She relaxed a bit and smiled. “But not everyone knows this Santa,” she sighed. “Well I do,” I said. She put down her pen. She stared at me. “C’mere,” she said, pointing for me to follow her to an office. “You know who Santa is?” sheRead more

The Servant Santa on Parade

The Servant Santa on Parade

He looked so strange to me. It was the first time I had seen Santa wearing something other than his Santa suit. He was speaking before the Chamber of Commerce, one of those networking functions you always hate to go to. His comments were brief, conservative and frankly kind of bland. Here I was seeing Santa in the real world for the first time. I wasn’t convinced I was witnessing the same person. We met later at his office, a very casual almost messy kind of place. His desk was large but looked like it came from Ikea. A smallRead more

Walkabout with the Servant Santa

Walkabout with the Servant Santa

He won’t let me tell you his name. In fact, he doesn’t go by anything but Santa. Most Santa portrayers I have met like to be called Santa James or Santa Smith – some combination of their real first or last names or even the names of the places where they live. But not this Santa. In fact, it took me a week to even learn what his real name is. He invited me to come back the next day to talk. He was scheduled again to work the cottage in the evening hours but he was coming to townRead more

Discovering the Servant Santa

Discovering the Servant Santa

I was on my way home by way of country roads, having escaped the interstate on a busy Friday afternoon about a week before Christmas. As I came through the small pass on the two lane road I saw a vehicle coming from the other direction. As it was heading west I could see clearly inside the car – it was Santa Claus, driving a small pickup. I smiled to myself, rolled down the window and waved. Santa waved back. It was great Christmas moment, one that filled me with good cheer. Four days later I found myself driving thatRead more

What You Don’t Know About Being Santa

What You Don’t Know About Being Santa

St. Nicholas Day comes and goes every December 6th with little notice. It is a shame that the Christmas season does not do more to honor the man who is the basis for Santa Claus. Once upon a time St. Nicholas was one of the most famous and revered people in the world. He did not become that way because he wildly gave gifts or bestowed upon people their every desire. Nicholas was far removed from the modern image of Santa, a character so abused by marketers and Hollywood he actually numbers as many enemies as friends. St. Nicholas wasRead more

Perils of Playing Santa

Perils of Playing Santa

The cat-and-mouse game of hiding the Christmas presents begins as soon as a black Friday bargain is found. Whether you are hiding gifts from your significant other or your children the game can be intense. Take, for example, the year of the drum set. My then 10-year old son had his heart set on a drum set for Christmas. It was out of our realm of possibility until about two days before Christmas when a moving neighbor had to off-load his five-drum set due to a sudden move. The price was right but how to hide it for Christmas morning?Read more

Christmas in a Political Year

Christmas in a Political Year

I recently engaged in conversation with one of our international members who observed, “You Americans ruin Christmas every four years”. Her reference, of course, was to the rancor of this particular election and how divisive it has been for everyone – even those out of the country. I had to laugh but she had a point. It does seem that the conversation shifts greatly around the cycles of American politics. The thought caused me to look through the numbers. We are not a for-profit venture and frankly we do not usually much care for the business of visitor statistics. ButRead more