This is a letter to parents of young children who are so excited that Santa is coming to visit. Santa is just amazing, isn’t he?. He allows us to focus on the spirit of Christmas: kindness, giving, and some old fashioned magic. But, this is a letter to parents asking that we look at Santa through different eyes.
This is such a busy time of year, I hate to even suggest that you think of one more thing. However, this is important to me and has been weighing on my heart. I just want to join my teacher friends in raising awareness and sensitivity. Every community and every school, no matter how affluent or how poor, has children living in homes from a variety of financial levels.
I live and work in a community where about 75% of children live in poverty. However, that leaves 25% who are not living in poverty. Now, I want you to think about this scenario: Johnny, Luis, and Latricia are in the same class. They all celebrate Christmas and Santa visits each of their homes.
Luis is an only child; his family has a lovely, decorated tree. Under the tree, there are lots of presents from family and extended family. Santa will come to the house, and as is their tradition, Santa will leave just one gift. Santa has an iPadPro and an Apple Pencil (cost = around $1000) for Luis this year.
Latricia is one of three children. Her mom and dad both work, but money is always tight. Nevertheless, there are presents under the tree for all of the children. Under the tree, there are lots of little presents for the children from mom and dad (pajamas, books, dolls, crayons, action figures). This year, the three children will have a visit from Santa and he will leave an expensive gaming system for them to share along with some games (cost = $550.00).
Johnny is our third student. He is one of four children living with a single mom who is out of work and depends on welfare and occasional part-time work to make ends meet. They have a small tree and a few presents. Santa is coming to Johnny’s house too. However, Johnny will find a new pair of much-needed sneakers from Santa (cost = $20.00).
Now, travel forward with me to January 6, 2020. The children are back at school and excited to share what they got from Santa. There is a big difference between what Luis got and what Johnny got. My fear is that Johnny is left wondering why Santa likes Luis so much more than he likes him. He worries that he was not a good boy or that he is not smart enough or didn’t do a good enough job helping his mom around the house. How sad! We know that Santa loves all children equally.
So, here is my request. Please think about all the Johnnys in your child’s school. When it is time to put out the cookies and milk for Santa, please leave a note asking him to leave small gifts for your child. This will not diminish your Christmas morning at all since you can proudly put your name on the big-ticket items for your child. I promise that Santa will appreciate how you are helping him look out for the happiness of all his boys and girls.
Merry Christmas from my home to yours!