Friday, December 26, 2008
When Every Day was Christmas
For some reason I was thinking of my Santa doll this holiday season. My dad, who worked for Coca-Cola in the 50s and early 60s, brought home one of these little guys - sans Coke bottle - for me when I was a baby. I've been thinking I might like to have one again, though he wouldn't be the same as my Santa.
My Santa was one of the few dolls that had staying power. From the time I got him, he was my constant companion, as though every day were Christmas. The shiny belt eventually went missing. The boots were scuffed, and his fur trim was well worn to a dingy gray. He slept with me in my bed, as he was almost like a pillow. His stuffing was a cottony fluff, kind of like some of the old fashioned batting from quilts. His face and hands were solid, a molded plastic with a ready smile. When I cried, he soaked up my tears. When I laughed, it was as though he was laughing with me. Look at the twinkle in his eye!
When we left Houston and moved to Georgia in my 10th grade year, Santa went with us. I didn't care that I was "too old" for dolls. This was no doll; he was Santa. I didn't even believe in Santa anymore, but I kept him close. He was one doll that never got passed down to my baby sister. I think my parents knew that there would have been a fight. Plus, Dad would never have taken away the toy he had given me.
So Santa stayed, and over the years he was mended several times. Not unlike me now, he showed the lines of many "surgical" scars and the insertion of a rod (actually a coat-hanger) into his upper body. At that time, I had no idea that Santa had anything to teach me. But he was a stoic old elf! He bore all those scars without a peep. He kept smiling. And he was always waiting for that Coke bottle he'd been deprived of. He never gave up hope, you see.
Sometime in my 11th grade year, I moved away, back to Houston, to live with my older sister, leaving many of my things behind - Santa included. I don't know what happened to him. Maybe he fell into my sister's hands after all, getting ruined or lost. Maybe Mom threw him away. I hope not. Maybe my nephew got him. But at some point, Santa just wasn't there anymore.
Life got very complicated. My childish illusions fell away as did all of the lovely free time that children use for play. My playtime was over. I'm not sure if I would have felt better to have Santa with me or not, but sometimes I think he might have given me something to hang onto, something to hope for. Instead, I grew up. I did what I was supposed to do and was expected to do. Not every day was Christmas anymore. My family repeatedly told me, "Life is hard! Get used to it!"
And what has that attitude gotten any of us? Stress? Gray hair? Wrinkles? Maybe we should all have a little play in our lives still, a Santa doll that rests on our pillows and waits for us to return home and spill those secrets of our day. I know I'd love to do that again, to recapture just one moment when it was Christmas every day. I think I'm going to try...
Peace - D