This morning, at 7:30 to be exact, our 8-year-old daughter Sylvana jumped into our bed to remind us that it was indeed Christmas Eve. I had told her the night before that Santa Claus had asked us to do a small job for him – to buy some food for some of the families that may at this moment have less than us. We thought it would be a good way to introduce her to the idea of putting the spirit of Santa Claus (love) into action by giving like he does, from the heart.
“I’m too tired, I don’t feel like it, it’s too cold…” she began to complain.
So as we all lay there in our bed, Alberto and I tried to explain the meaning of giving with love.
“It makes you feel good when you give from the heart,” I said. “You feel warm from the inside out. You feel like your whole body wants to smile.”
“When we give a gift, honey,” Alberto added, “we add a touch of magic to it. We add the spirit of the love that moved us to give to the gift, so that the people receiving it will feel that love and magic too.”
She started to get grumpy then, and to cover her head.
“You know, a gift of love doesn’t have to be material,” I added. “Remember when you finished that friendship bracelet for your friend because she didn’t know how to do it well, and then gave it to her as a gift? That’s giving from the heart.”
“But, but… to give gifts… that is work of Santa and his Elves!” she protested.
“If Santa and his Elves made all the gifts in the world,” interjected Alberto, “no one would feel the love and joy of giving. They also would not feel the love that others put in the gifts that they give us. Santa knows this, Sylvana. When Santa gives us some of that work to do for him, he is giving us the best gift that he possibly can, do you understand, cariño? The love that we feel in giving or receiving is the best of gifts.”
“Or,” I added mischievously, beginning to tickle her, “You can give something that every single person would love to receive.” She began to shake her head vigorously.
“Nooooo,” she moaned, “No hugs, no kisses.” As a general rule, our daughter absolutely refuses to give hugs or kisses, unless she feels like initiating them…which is very rarely, much to the chagrin and disgruntlement of family and friends.
Our continual cajoling and explaining only seemed to agitate her more, and we certainly didn’t want to do that to her on Christmas Eve. “We’re not going to force you to do this,” I said. “We only wanted to give you something to think about. When you feel like doing this, at any time, just let us know.”
I stood and got ready to leave. Alberto suddenly calls out, “Mony, Sylvana, come see this!”
I hurried back into our bedroom. He had pulled open the curtains and was greeted by the image that you see here. It was created by the morning frost.
Sylvana’s mouth gaped open when she saw it. No more words were needed. She just left to watch some television, while I left to do the small task that Santa had requested. It felt even more special than it normally does.
Wishing you all the same love and magic that pervades this special time of year.
Santa’s little helpers,
Mony, Alberto and Sylvana (in training)