I heard the footsteps, faintly, from my room. It was snowy outside and I was wide awake, itching with excitement. I could hear the rustling of the Christmas tree, I mean Chanukah bush, as I thought I saw the silhouette of a reindeer or two on our back lawn. In the dark, it could have been some bucks with large racks of antlers, but given it was December 24th, I’m sure it was reindeer.
I waited until morning to sprint downstairs and see all of the surprises in store for the only Jewish boy in town who believed in Santa Claus. In theory, the big guy may not come to a Jewish boy’s house, but why should my childhood be ruined. Why can’t I believe that a cookie eating, jolly man (other than my Uncle David), secretly comes to my house, once a year, to shower me with amazing gifts – over and above the ones I get each night for Chanukah.
One year, I snuck out of my room on Christmas eve, to meet the enchanted Claus. I was so giddy, as I ran down the stairs to where I left my note for the big man, along with my homemade cookies. When I quietly got to the bottom of the staircase, I froze and a shiver went down my spine as I spied someone who looked a lot like my father, dressed in a red pajamas, with a yarmulke on his head and a tallis around his shoulders. Rather than saying the familiar, “Ho, Ho, Ho,” this dad-looking guy was singing the dreidel song.
Confused and disappointed, I made the walk of shame back to my room knowing that Santa had other minions working for him, some of whom could morph into someone who looked remarkably like my dad.
Every once in a while you’ll here me say, “Where is Santa when you need him?” When things are not going my way or I see people treating each other badly, I know Santa can make it better. Isn’t the guy super-human when you consider that he can go to every single child’s house in one night? Although my parent’s appreciate what Santa means to me, they do remind me that I’m Jewish, and the Chanukah bush under which the Claus presents are placed, are not really kosher, although my mom really enjoys the decorating aspect.
But, if I’m being completely truthful, I have to admit that I am very worried about Santa’s health because he is so obese. I know he has lived hundreds of years according to my calculation, but I often wonder if heart disease or diabetes runs in his family. And what about Mrs. Claus? She cooks Santa all his meals and she is looking pretty portly, herself. I know the idea is to keep Santa really fat but with his red face and all, he probably has high blood pressure. Imagine what Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers would pay them to be their spokespeople?
I think about this especially when I watch my favorite TV show, Man v. Food. I am convinced that Santa is either a consultant on the show or is their biggest fan, as he learns different strategies to eat massive amounts of food. Santa must do something to prepare for eating thousands of pounds of cookies and gallons of milk in one night. It can’t be done…unless you’re Santa.
The world would be a better place if everyone believed in Santa because people would realize that there is someone who brings great joy and unites everyone, even if it is just for one night. He judges people based on who is naughty and who is nice, which is pretty simple. I believe in the majestic, enchanted and magical Santa Claus because not only does he makes my holidays a lot more fun, but because he doesn’t care that I’m Jewish. He makes me try to be a better kid, even if my mother would rather see me spinning the dreidel. Oy!