Notes From The Newsroom: It’s more than Santa

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

This week I?ve typed dozens of letters to Santa.

Lest you get the wrong impression about my state of need, these were actually letters written by local school children. It?s been quite an experience.

I have to confess I?ve never been a big devotee to Santa Claus. When I was a child, my parents told us early on that Santa was, well ? maybe your kid should hear it from you. Let?s just say I regarded Old St. Nick with a degree of skepticism from a very young age.

I don?t really hate Santa or Mrs. Claus, by the way. Many of the men and women who dress up in red and hold kiddies on their laps are doing it out of the kindness and generosity of their hearts, motives which I applaud.

The movie ?The Santa Clause? happens to be one of my favorites.

Taking over the helm of The New Era this year has included getting up to speed on certain annual traditions ? one of them the annual installment of Letters to Santa from kids in local schools.

Despite my views about him, I?ve always enjoyed reading letters to Santa. I don?t enjoy seeing many children?s blind faith in this character who has attributes remarkably similar to God, as described in the Bible. But I do get a kick out of seeing where the little kids are coming from ? not to mention their creative spelling. At this age, most haven?t quite got the greed thing down yet, so it?s still pretty cute.

This year I learned a lot about what?s hot and what?s not. I have three daughters, ages 7 to 13, but either I?m not paying close enough attention or the fact that they have more outdoor-type interests may have kept me out of the loop on what?s in demand this year.

So I?ve learned with interest that among the rest of the 7- and 8-year-old set Bratz (also commonly spelled ?Brats? by young devotees) dolls are big this

year. So are lava lamps, Butterfly Island, Xbox games (very big), robots of various kinds and the ?Madagascar? movie. Maybe I?ve been way too preoccupied with producing newspapers lately because I hadn?t the foggiest what a Bratz doll was until I looked it up on the Internet. (For others who are clueless, Bratz appear to be the latest trend in trendy dolls that have included Barbies, Cabbage Patch Dolls, American Girl dolls, Fashion Pollys, etc. Seems Bratz dolls sport rock-star looks and clothes and accessories. It?s all about what?s cool, Grandpa.)

It?s funny to see how kids behave when they?re trying to be good. Being nice to Sister and Brother. Asking for stuff for Sister and Brother. Not stealing cookies. Anything for a Bratz doll or an XBox.

Then there are the wrenching letters. Those of you who?ve read them know what I?m talking about. They?re the children who really couldn?t care less about toys. What they really want is an absent Mom or Dad. Sometimes they ask Santa to bring Mommy and Daddy back together.

There are some things Santa can?t do and that includes changing people?s lives.

But isn?t that really what Christmas is about? It?s about the coming of the One who can.

Merry Christmas and don?t forget the real reason why we celebrate this day.