Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa Claus' Gift to the World

What I've written below is actually, for the most part, taken from a scene of a film I was working on early in the season. It likely won't be finished this year, but the scene was of particular importance to me. The basic premise of the story is Santa Claus essentially passing along his duties to his son (whom has since grown and become distant with his father), who is to become the new Santa. It deals with subject matter I think we try not to associate with a character as light as Santa, however I think it's important that with a character such as him, considering all he represents, it be considered. We're beginning to live in a world where we try to keep our ideals and our rationality separate, that idealists are cute but ultimately impractical. But idealism gives way to real change, to true personal and social reform. And though a lot of people may not take a fictional character's words as truth, they are often penned by men who understand the true workings of the world, and even the Universe.

Santa Claus, for me, has become more of this character, and I'd like to share his voice with you which, as you know, is my own. But I don't speak as eloquently as Good Ol' Saint Nick, so I'll let him be the microphone.


Dear World,

Tonight is the night I load the sleigh
With toys and trinkets to deliver on Christmas day.
As you know, I employ a hard working bunch.
Elves of all shapes and sizes who've got a hunch
That what will make your Christmas bright
May not be what makes others' ignite,
But they work hard and sleep little
To ensure that it'll
Be just right for you.

Yet each year I recall a song I heard,
And as quickly as it plays it always ocurrs
To me that we've come to think
Christmas is something quite out of sync
Wth the rest of the year.
Goodness and cheer
Mustn't be annual happenstances,
Merry greetings simply chance
Meetings we hear uttered as if out of obligation.

'The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot'
Struck my heart in a way not
Felt in a milenia.
Pople crying out 'Ave Maria'
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there
To visit broken homes in desperate need of repair.
But there is magic even Santa cannot work,
Not that responsibility is shirked
Or that he does not care...

But Santa is sought to provide a bike,
A toy or a game or whatever you'd like
That defines your happiness.
But perhaps he seeks to bless
Your home with more than things.
Perhaps that which Santa brings
Is more than that which you can see.
That if you are willing, you can be
As rich as Kings and as happy as clams.

My greatest gift to you comes free of charge.
There isn't a box you can find large
Enough to contain it.
Its hope is to make, if even a little bit,
Your Christmas that much brighter,
Your heart that much lighter.
And it is just that, hope.
The tool in which to help us cope,
The great igniter of peace on earth.

You may be rather surprised,
That despite what you've surmised,
More often than not what is asked of me
Is not something valuable for under the tree.
Rather it is invaluable and irreplaceable,
The need for something embraceable
Of the heart.
That no family be kept apart,
But able to be together if only for a day.

'I'd like a mattress for my Mom and Dad,
I promise this year not to be bad.
But I ask because they sleep on the floor
And there is nothing I would like more
Than to know they do not have to,
That I appreciate all that they do,
And meaning more to me than any toy
Is to see my parents know your joy.
I love you Santa, Merry Christmas.'

'Santa, this year I want to survive my cancer.
To see my daughter grow to become the dancer
She alway dreamed of being.'
'Santa, instead of seeing
Green, I'd rather see food on my table,
Rather know I'm able
To provide for my family
Despite the vanity
We may be capable of.'

More often than not, you see
When a child sits upon my knee
He or she asks for something real,
Something that has no store window appeal,
But is quite plainly and simply
A wish wished freely
From the bottom of their soul,
That even coal
May really be something to cherish.

I cannot grant every single wish,
And I cannot express the anguish
I feel because there is only so much
One man can do. But if I can touch
Just one or two,
Express my love to you,
Then perhaps you can give
To others, teach them to live
The Christmas spirit through the year.

But my gift to you this Holiday season
Is no doubt the very reason
I do what I do.
And though you likely already knew,
I thought I'd remind
That Christmas is defined
Not by your believing in me,
But the other way around, you see.
And here, I pray, you find your hope.

Believe in your fellow man,
Extend your spirit, your helping hand
To plant the seed of Christmas.
Your love is the isthmus
Joining heart and action.
And even if you are a fraction,
Or find it hard to believe,
You alone can be the reprieve,
The attraction that Christmas can have.

When the morning arrives,
And the little ones wipe the slumber from their eyes,
Take a moment to recall
That I wouldn't exist at all
If not for you.
Because I believe in you, who
Believes in me,
In the you I know you can be,
In the love that lives within.

If you will, remember to pause,
To recall the merriment because
You can find Christmas anywhere
So long as there is love in the air.
For me, there are no words
To tell you all the things you deserve
To hear. So let this letter be my applause,
A reminder that, for all that I do, you are my cause.

Merry Christmas to all,
Much Love,
Santa Claus.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thankful

So I suppose to many of you...this is coming a little late. But, it's been a long time since I've posted. I knew I'd settle back into it once the Holidays hit, and here we are.

But regardless of this coming a week after Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner. And in fact, New Years comes after that, then, I'm sure if you Googled them, a list of Holidays nearly every day in some Country at least a few times a week, maybe every day even.

So the Holidays are always around us. Christmas and Thanksgiving are just lucky enough to be classified as THE Holidays. But I was strolling this evening. I don't like to drive to the grocery store since it's only like a mile away, so I just walk. On my way home I was listening to some Christmas tunes on the trusty 6 year old iPod that has yet to stop working. (Knock on wood.) I recollected a lot on something I've found myself telling several people over this past year. In a nutshell it's: Count your blessings one by one.

I think a lot of us get hit with stress and life and drama and trouble and things left and right it just seems to mount, piling up until we feel like we're just going to break down. More often than not, if I the first question I asked you when we got together for coffee ('cause that's what classy folks do on cold days) was "So, tell me what's been going wrong in your life." You could probably start to recollect and recall all the stressful stuff on your plate you've been dealing with, are currently dealing with, and will come to deal with in the near future. Thinking about the craziness now, and on top of that the craziness yet to come makes us feel like, sometimes, we can barely breathe.

But what if the first question someone asked you was, "So tell me. What's going right in your life?" Would you just answer half seriously, "Nothing, I'm stressed. I have problems." Or would you stop and actually think?

What I've witnessed from experience and observation seems to tell me that the way the brain works, the way people work, is that we unfortunately find ways to thrive on negative energy. We like to complain. We just do. And I'm sure all of us have that friend who likes to basically make it a competition with who has more problems. "You're going through this? Well you have no clue what it's really like because I'm going through this!"

I bet you didn't realize, but at one time or another (likely many times) we've all been that person. For some strange reason...we like to feel bad about things and we like to tell people about it in hopes that it will make us feel better. But it never does, and we start to feel worse because all we've done is focus on what's going wrong in our lives.

Do you ever get pissed off when people try to be positive or motivational? Yeah, you do. I do too. I even get pissed off at myself sometimes when I try to be positive toward me about the things that are making me upset. "Stop it conscience! I want to feel bad right now! Just...leave me alone."

But there's good news today. There's good news every day. And yes, this is my transitioning into being positive. If you're having one of those days like I mentioned above, and you just don't want to hear chipper people try to tell you to look on the bright side...tough. This is happening. You might not want it, but I can guarantee you need it.

Break down your life. When you stop to legitimately give thought to the things that make you happy, you'll find you can list A LOT of things. Random things too. Watch this, here's some of the things that make me happy.

  1. Green Grass
  2. Strawberries
  3. Rolly Pollies
  4. Burritos
  5. Cold Weather
  6. Coffee
  7. My wife
  8. All of my friends and family
  9. Music
  10. Snoopy
That's ten things that just popped into my head as I wrote.

I want to keep this short and sweet because you already know what I'm going to say before I say it because I'm sure you've heard it a thousand times. But maybe you just need to hear it a thousand and one times before you start believing it. We spend our lives measuring our happiness in terms of our unaccomplished things, not the other way around. We get sad when we realize all the things we haven't done. We get depressed when we think about the things that we want but cannot have. We spend our lives focusing on the big picture, on the future, on trying to achieve it all at once that we lose sight of what we have in the here and now. And what we have now is an infinite amount of things that we're taking for granted, like air and clean water, friends, food, the internet, a roof over our heads and clothes on our back.

If you stop to really think about it, there is likely no end to the things that make you happy. It doesn't matter how big or small they are, they bring you joy, and that's something to be glad about. We are all incredibly wealthy people. I can't tell you enough how important it is to remember what a blessed life it can be if we just, as cliche as it sounds, stop and smell the roses once in a while. Roses are beautiful and they smell nice and they make me happy. Why not take a little time to appreciate those things?

So if someone seems a little downtrodden, throw them for a bit of a loop. Instead of saying, "What's wrong?" ask "What's right?" Help your peers to break down their lives and build them back up as a tower of gladness, not a tower of sorrow. The towers of gladness are fortresses, built strong on bedrock. The towers of sorrow are thin, trembling, dangerous things that can come crashing down at any moment.

If the first question is "What's right?" and we go into a discussion of what brings you gladness and joy, and then I ask "What's wrong?" chances are, it will be very little. There is a finite amount of what is wrong in our lives compared to with what is right. We're just not thinking about it properly. It's not money, or cars, or houses, or electronics. It's feet and toes, fingers, and a belly button, beautiful eyes, vegetables, colors, flavors, scents. They may be small, but count your blessings one by one and soon you'll find they begin to add up.

There is so much happiness to find within each day. You've just got to remind yourself once in a while, you've got to stop and ask yourself the question, "What's right in my life?"

I bet if you do, you'll find there really is a lot to be Thankful for.