In my writing class I asked my students to write a letter to Santa.
“Tell Santa if you’ve been a good girl or boy and ask Santa for something you want,” I said. While my students all know about Santa they obviously have never written a letter to Santa like most western kids.
I’ve taught these students for a year, and I have been moved by their writing from time to time, but I found this simple assignment had real profound responses. Of course there was people asking for a new phone, laptop, car, etc. One student really ran with it:
“If you really there, please give me XBOX, PS4, iphoneX, ipad, range rover, BMW, LV, Chanel, Dior, sk-II, Estee Lauder, a autograph from Taylor Swift and a bunch of cash. Thank you. Love you.”
Many students were also fascinated by the big man himself:
“Literally, I wish that I could become a Santa like you…there are so many wishes that Santa can’t deal with immediately.”
“I have many questions about you. Why are you always wear red and white clothes? It looks cool. And your white beard is so gorgeous. And why are you so kind?”
“Could you please give me your selfie with your reindeer and your sled. I really want to know what do you look like. And I really love your reindeer’s!!!”
Some kids wondered about the technicalities of Santa:
“I want a corgi. And I want to know how do you give it to me at night. Because there is no chimney in my house. What about put it on the balcony? Please wake me up when you come or leave. It’s cold outside. I don’t want my gift getting cold.”
And some kids weren’t having it:
“I know who you are because I live with you everyday, haha!” (aka her mom)
But without being steeped in the gift culture of Christmas my students mostly asked for non-material good:
“Can you let my roommate stop snoring?”
“I want a gate through the past and I can go through my life again to make it more wonderful. I will study all kinds of talent such as dance, basketball. If you don’t have the gate, then I want a yoga mat. I can do yoga when I am tired.”
There was also requests for good night sleeps, luck in the future and wishes for health for themselves and family.
But some of the letters to Santa were also touching and reveled a lot about the writer:
“I am a very good girl. I treat others friendly…And I like smile. I smile to everyone and always smile face people. But I am not always happy.”
“I wish you could give my parents a huge hug. I gave them my hug, but people want to be recognized by other people. Despite that Santa only give gifts to kids, we don’t want to be selfish do we?”
“By the way, I want to tell you some of my depression words. I thought I’m terrible. I can’t do a good thing. A bad family, a failure loving, a terrible study. I don’t know I have any value.”
“People don’t give me a hand when I’m in trouble.When I try to do something well the result is often failure. A lot of bad things are always going to hurt me. But I still love this world. I believe you can take my sadness away.”
One girl encouraged her brother not to go to college and he ended up taking her advice, something she now regrets. “I hope you can take my apologies and send it to my brother at Christmas. I hope he will receive this special gift. Perhaps he never blamed me, but I hope my own apology would make up for a little of my own conscience.”
“I would be grateful if you could give me a bottle of maotai liquor. My father used to have one. He said he would keep it until my wedding. But once, when he was drunk, he opened the bottle of maotai for 20 years accidentally. He is very regret now. So if you could give me a bottle of Maotai. I could tell him it’s okay. We’ve got another one. But honestly, they can come to my wedding with healthy body is the greatest gift for me.”
I guess no matter what your culture or what your beliefs it is nice to believe there is a kind man who listens to you and grants your wishes.
Merry Christmas everyone! Wherever you are and whatever you celebrate I hope you have a happy one.