It was a tough Christmas season. The election of Donald Trump threw a pall over the whole year’s end, and it seemed like everyone was grumpy. Good cheer was so lacking that I nearly cried from happiness one day when a stranger at the grocery store wished me a Merry Christmas.
And even Santa seemed tired, as evidenced by your scrawny Christmas stockings. When I was a kid, those very same stockings were always filled beyond capacity, with gifts falling out of them at the top. It pained me to see them so poorly filled.
Santa got a lot right, though. You didn’t even notice that the stockings weren’t as full as they could have been. You were thrilled with your jelly beans, Pez refills, and spinning ladybug toys. Marshall got a Hot Wheels car in the shape of a shark. He said, “I got a car that will eat you for lunch!” Livia got a fancy coloring book. She liked it so much that she kept saying, “It’s so beautiful!”
The funniest thing from that morning was the way you reacted to the presents. You insisted on sorting them. You made one pile for Marshall’s gifts and one for Livia’s. All the other gifts were tossed in a pile called “Other.” Looking at his growing pile, Marshall exclaimed, “I got a lot of presents. I must have been good. And they’re soft, not hard like coal!” Livia said, “I got a lot of pretty wrapping paper!”
Livia’s favorite gift was a deck of Pokemon cards. Her second favorite gift was a jewelry-making kit. I asked Marshall what his favorite gifts were, and he had a hard time deciding. He said he liked them all. But when I pressed him, he said he liked his books best, because at that moment he was reading one of his two new “Plants vs. Zombies” comic books. When he first unwrapped them, he bragged, “I can read both of these in one day!” I bet that he can, and I’m thrilled that he wants to.
I’m always glad to have you with us, but I am especially grateful at the holidays. You bring us joy, and you help us create a safe, happy place that the terrible events of the outside world cannot touch. Thank you for another wonderful Christmas!