December 20, 2009

The Miracle That is Plastic Santa

Thanksgiving, not Christmas is my favorite holiday. Christmas is too far away from the original meaning, and has many complications in a nomadic society. I'm by no means a Scrooge, but I just prefer the simplicity and "gratitude attitude" of the prior holiday.

In the early part of our marriage, we lived 1000 miles away from both our families. In many ways life was less complicated because we just couldn't’t afford to travel north, and decided to be happy with our situation. Early on, we started our own family holiday traditions.

Our first Christmas a a married couple came just two months after our wedding. The week of Christmas, we headed to the local Kash n’ Karry to buy groceries, and Husband spied a line of foot-tall plastic Santas for sale, sitting like toy soldiers on a shelf above the produce, mangos, grapefruit, and clementines.

Plastic Santa is a treasured possession in our house. Plastic Santa is now faded to a dark pink after 25 years of living with us.

We open the box of Christmas decorations with much anticipation. Here are our families' special Christmas treasures -- a blue glass ornament from the Indiana Gas Company that says "Light Up With Gas" given to us by a college friend. Another college friend -- not known for his expensive gifts (yup, he's cheap) gave us a tiny wooden soldier he bought for ninety-nine cents at a Shell Station. Of course, there's Santa Gator from Florida, a beautiful red velveteen ornament from a trip to the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, one of a 1,000 paper cranes from a big crane-making project one year at Husband's work, three or four 1990 "Baby's First Christmas" ornament (duplicate gifts), hand-made ornament from nieces and nephews, and a hand-painted Santa boot from my Husband's childhood.

All eclectic -- no designer Christmas in our house. Heaven forbid. And while our neighborhood is a plethora of white-lighted castles, drive around our bend and witness first hand the "Black Hole of Calcutta." No one wants to climb up on a ladder and risk a certain fall to put up our old jalapeno pepper or M and M lights.

Now we reach the bottom of the box where the decorations are kept and there he is. Plastic Santa, age 25.

Each year we place him lovingly on the fireplace hearth, awaiting the miracle.
Will Santa light this year?
Will the tiny nightlite bulb in his belly give off the warm red glow of the holiday season?

It is possible that some large bearded literary-minded Elf is replacing the bulb each year.

I choose to believe that it is indeed a miracle and that Plastic Santa will continue to light our home with his goodness. Merry CHRISTmas. Quoth the raven.