I hope this letter finds you, Mrs. Claus and all the elves well and COVID-free. I have not seen any pandemic statistics for the North Pole, specifically, but I trust that the isolation of your neighborhood has kept the number of cases down.
I know you receive countless letters every year, and I imagine that some of the lists you get will be especially long and heartbreaking this year. I don’t envy you your job. While I hesitate to burden you with a list of my own, there are some things I’m wishing for, and I’m hopeful that you will have the time and the resources to make every single one of my wishes come true. Please know that my family is safe, healthy and not in need – a blessing for which we are all extremely grateful. But there are others . . .
To the leaders of every government and community agency working to ease the effects of the pandemic, please bring the understanding that we’re all in this together and that working toward the greater good - the health and safety (indeed, the survival) of the people of our country – is our most urgent priority.
To the researchers and staff members of the pharmaceutical companies working tirelessly on vaccines, please bring the fortitude needed to follow through on this gargantuan undertaking, the realization that they were tasked with saving the world and our never-ending gratitude for stepping up to such an extraordinarily important challenge.
“And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent...” (Taylor Caldwell)
To every single medical and mental health provider called on to treat patients felled physically or emotionally by the virus, please bring well-deserved rest whenever they can steal the time for it, strengthened immune systems to keep them safe, the most spectacular awards you have for dedication and our appreciation of their willingness to man the front lines on our behalf.
To all members of law enforcement, fire departments, rescue squads and ambulance crews – paid and unpaid - who have worked doggedly throughout the pandemic to provide critical services to members of their communities, please bring rewards of the heart commensurate with the magnitude of their dedication, not their salaries.
To academic administrators, teachers and students struggling to deliver and acquire a high quality of education in excruciatingly difficult circumstances, please bring the commitment and perseverance required to accomplish their goals.
To the pilots, the engineers, the captains, the truckers and all of the crew members who support them, please bring a restful respite from their efforts to orchestrate the maneuvers of the supply chain during a pandemic and sincere appreciation for keeping the planes, trains, ships and trucks transporting the supplies on which the housebound have depended rolling month after month. (Special thanks for those crucial deliveries of toilet paper.)
“Christmas will always be as long as we
stand heart to heart and hand in hand." (Dr. Seuss)
To the staff members at our banks, gas stations, auto and RV repair centers and everyone else whose dedication to their customers allowed us to accomplish the mundane, but necessary, tasks and chores of everyday life, please bring the heartwarming understanding that they all do, indeed, help the world go ‘round.
To the delivery drivers of groceries, meals, necessities and holiday gifts who have shouldered the burden of our sheltering in place, please bring continued good health and rest for the weary.
To the employees who have stocked grocery shelves, manned checkout lines and sold us the supplies we needed for home renovations, crafts, entertainment and baking projects, please bring time with their families to enjoy comfort and contentment in their own homes.
To the employers who have worked diligently to prioritize the health and safety of their staff and their customers in a most challenging environment, please bring corporate profits and our unending gratitude.
"There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves." (Eric Sevareid)
To the many volunteers who braved the virus to staff food pantries and other venues offering support to those in need, please bring the knowledge that their good works have sustained countless individuals and families who had nowhere else to turn.
To the musicians, dancers and artists of all sorts who achieved the goal of bringing culture and art into our homes providing joyful entertainment in our darkest days, please bring sold out performances at all post-pandemic events.
To the creative individuals who peppered social media with adorable videos of their kids, playful antics of their pets, documentation of their creative efforts and hilarious pranks and practical jokes that brought laughter to our days, please bring the satisfaction of knowing that not only did they keep us connected but smiling, too, during some very tough times.
To the wizards of technology whose expertise provided us with the means to reach out, stay in touch, offer support and sustain our relationships, please bring strengthened relationships with their own family and friends to nurture and fortify them throughout the difficult days ahead.
To the fitness gurus who use said technology to engage the public at home and support us in our efforts to expend our extra COVID calories and rid ourselves of unwanted pandemic pounds, please bring immense satisfaction and a solid list of loyal clients.
“Christmas is doing a little something
extra for someone.” (Charles M. Schulz)
To every single person who manages or staffs our public lands allowing us to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery, the trails and the water in an effort to escape from within our four walls and refresh our spirits, please bring the serenity that only nature can provide and quiet time for reflections around their own campfires.
To outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers and travelers of all sorts who have had plans upended time and again this year, please bring the pleasure of dreams, the assurance of future road trips and a happy anticipation of the journeys yet to come.
To everyone, everywhere who is struggling with illness, food insecurity, financial instability, a housing crisis, unemployment or the loss of family members and friends, please bring hope for brighter days ahead and the emotional and financial support from generous individuals needed to see them through.
“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we
celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most." (Ruth Carter Stapleton)
To the children, who I know are near and dear to your heart, especially those in difficult circumstances, please bring proof and every assurance you can, dear Santa, that they are loved and cherished. And toys. Please don’t forget the toys so that their memories of Christmas – even in the most difficult of times - will always be of love, laughter and joy.
"What is Christmas? It is the tenderness of the past, courage for the present, and hope for the future." (Agnes M. Pahro)
Well, that’s it for now, Santa. I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone or, more likely, many deserving someones. I will trust your intuitive and magical powers to cover my omissions and bless those who are most deserving and most in need this year. Thank you for all of your efforts (and those of Mrs. Claus and the elves, too) on our behalf. Your favorite cookies will be in the usual spot, along with carrots for your reindeer team. We’ll be sure the milk is cold and the fire in the fireplace is out. Safe travels, dear Santa – don’t forget your mask and your hand sanitizer!
With unending gratitude for all that you do to bring joy to the world,
"May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve." (Anonymous)