Typing my way into the holidays

Published 11:33 pm Friday, December 3, 2010

Maybe it was the Christmas trees decked out with ornaments that I spied at a Cracker Barrel in August or the Christmas music I heard in a store sometime in October, but I entered December mostly fed up with a holiday that hadn’t even begun.

It might be the holiday season, but I’ve been hard-pressed to muster up some “Fa-la-la’s,” as a coworker says. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve always enjoyed Christmas. With the pretty lights and the cheery music and a chance to see family and friends, it’s definitely a good time of year. I just wasn’t prepared to start celebrating it before Thanksgiving had even arrived.

And then I arrived at work a few weeks ago to find a stack of big envelopes on my desk. It seems my editor had assigned me the task of transcribing letters to Santa from area elementary school students. At first I complained. “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet,” I grumbled. But you can’t argue with your editor, and I hunkered down to complete the task.

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I finished the last letter this week. And despite the time it took, I’ve learned a few things. I learned that kids are still fascinated by reindeer, at least judging by the number of requests to meet Santa’s famous pets.

I learned that kids are still puzzling out the whole down-the-chimney tradition, often advising Santa to use the door instead. One child even recommended that Santa wear fire-retardant boots in case her dad forgot to turn off the fire.

And I learned that Suffolk is overwhelmingly raising kids with the right priorities.

Sure, they all asked for something for themselves. It was the prompt that the students were given by teachers. Some went big and requested a gaming system, a guitar or a dirt bike. Others kept it simple and asked for clothes, books or dolls.

But across the board, kids always kept their siblings, parents and even their teachers in mind when they made their heartfelt pleas to Santa.

Hinting that children are aware of the financial woes we all are facing, several students asked for their parents to get a job, a car or money.

A first-grader at Creekside Elementary asked for all the children in the “hospidol” to get “beddr.”

A student at Mt. Zion Elementary asked for a little sister so that she could have two little sisters.

And a first-grader from Florence Bowser asked for joy and health this year.

The list goes on, but after I typed the last one, I realized that all I needed to find my Christmas cheer was to read some sweet and often amusing letters from Suffolk’s children. If you’re looking for a bit of cheer, look for more letters in our special section on Dec. 17.

And don’t worry, kids — we’ve sent the letters on to St. Nick, who is, of course, a longtime subscriber to this newspaper.