Only 72 more days till Christmas!
I know, I know, it’s too soon to be planning and shopping and making lists and checking them twice. The marketing engines start up earlier and earlier every year and we wring our hands and decry the commercialization of Christmas and then go to the malls and max out the charge cards spreading that Christmas cheer.
The frost is barely on the pumpkin, so why do I bring up Christmas? Because I saw Santa Claus today! He was in street clothes so I’m guessing he was still on vacation, but he didn’t need to be wearing his red suit and boots to know it was him. And he wasn’t coming to town; he was leaving town, heading north on I-25 on the south end of Denver.
I’m guessing he’s on his way from his summer vacation spot – Belize or Cozumel, judging by the snorkeling bumper stickers on his red VW Beetle. I did a double-take when he passed me on my way to the airport this morning. I was in a hurry myself (and not obeying the posted speed limit) and only moved out of the passing lane when he flashed me, which is probably why I even bothered to look over as he sped by. A white beard flowing down to his ample gut and a full head of white hair held in place with a red bandana didn’t seem out of place at all with the peace sign hanging from the rear view mirror or the red carnation gracing the built in VW dashboard vase.
Christmas was not on my mind this morning, so my first thought was that he was a Dead Head hippie. Then I saw the Save-a-Reindeer window decal in the side window and something clicked. I sped up a little to get another look at the bearded face, but he was in an obvious hurry and the only other clue I could see was the granny glasses that he pushed up his nose with a thick finger before pushing a button on his radio. And then he was pulling away and I was falling behind him. That’s when I saw the clinchers – proof that this was no ordinary purveyor of peace and love – vanity plates that read “Ho Ho 1” and a “North Pole or bust” bumper sticker.
You’re probably thinking that I’m living in a dream world and need to grow up, but excuse me if I prefer to keep some visions (think sugarplums) in my otherwise grown-up reality. I refuse to let my age and my acquired “wisdom” prevent me from believing in the magic that surrounds Christmas. What better way to fight off the commercialization of this special time of joy and peace than to absorb and surrender to the frivolous enchantment of the season? Magic only disappears from your life if you prefer it that way. I prefer to believe in some unbelievable things if you don't mind.
I’m not ready to start shopping yet and you better not play any carols for at least a month. By December 29th, I’ll probably be burnt out on Christmas and by January 3rd, I’ll be ready to take down the decorations and reclaim all the living spaces in our home from Marcia's Santa collection. But today, I am jazzed about Christmas because I saw Santa Claus, heading home to the North Pole. He was anxious to get the party started, and for now, so am I!