I’d like to leave you with some thoughts for Christmas. I’ve had a magnificent season, which ended Monday night with the Minnesota Vikings. They have been most kind to me this year, and it was a great way to finish the year.
After 19 years as Santa, some things have become even more obvious to me than when I started:
You get love in direct proportion to the amount you give. A sour puss and miserable attitude bring it right back. But being kind, and welcoming people into your life is the most rewarding thing one can imagine.
Prayer fixes a lot of things. If you doubt this, send me a note. I’d be glad to cite some miracles for you to help lessen your doubt. In addition, praying for other people makes you feel better. That time with God is priceless.
Racism is a complete waste of time. There is beauty in everyone, and all you have to do is hang out with children as Santa to fully recognize that fact. It’s what they’re taught, and how they are treated, that either nourishes a good soul or brings forth the ugliness we see in adults. It doesn’t take much to sour a human for life, but it takes just a bit of love to nip that in the bud.
Our brothers and sisters who are gay are just that: our brothers and sisters. You may not endorse the lifestyle, but being kind and loving them costs you nothing and improves and enriches your life. Keep that in mind. Some of the best interactions I’ve had this season were with people very different than me. And I thank them for the kindness and love that they showed for me.
People of different faiths are not your enemy. That one is simple. It takes some action to earn that distrust. Most people – the vast majority – are trying to get by and live a decent life. Treat them like your coreligionists until they’ve proven otherwise. I’ve chatted with more people about their lives in Arabic this past year than ever before. Exactly zero had a problem with Santa being a Christian. And, I was warmed by their smiles.
Spend some time with people who could be your parents. That gets harder each year as you age, the target group shrinks. But my visits to memory care units and senior facilities have been very rewarding. I’ve met some real characters and some mighty fine people who’ve shared their memories with me. If you don’t engage and talk to them, a rich part of life is lost with their passing.
Do something randomly nice this week. And every week. This morning somebody bought my breakfast at Mickey’s because I posed for a picture with them. That simple act of generosity touched me deeply. I love posing for photos with people, and I got a great and unexpected blessing. I try to return those blessings regularly. It makes me happy.
Sit down and talk to your pet. Fish might be an exception, but cats and dogs love that attention. They give you love in gigantic quantities, and all they want is your attention. Chewy loves it when I talk to him. He might be a dog, but he’s an individual who craves that contact. My life is a lot more hirsute with him around, but that’s a small price to pay for even one lick on the nose – mine, not his.
Celebrate your family. Be kind around the table tomorrow. Don’t bicker over stupid things – politics included. Remember the love, choke down the angry words, cut them another slice of pie and keep in mind that they won’t always be there. View every family gathering as your last and cherish them.
That’s all the wisdom I have for now. Merry Christmas.