Every year, I look forward to reading children’s Letters to Santa in various newspapers, especially The Citizen. I remember the thrill of writing to Santa at the North Pole, and believing that he’d bring at least one thing on my carefully constructed Christmas list.
The arrival of the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalogue marked the beginning of the season for me. I would spend hours and hours marking pages and making a meticulous list of what I wanted for Christmas. Over the years, the wished-for gifts varied from baby dolls to Barbie dolls. I also remember asking for a jade ring and a silver tea service. The list always ended with “and a lot of surprises.”
The surprises were many, but perhaps the Christmas gift that made the greatest impression on me was a used record player and a box of 45 rpm records that had been changed out from the jukebox of a greasy spoon café’ on Broad Street in Columbus.
Those gifts, which cost nothing, gave me years of entertainment and changed the way I saw the world. Among other songs, Conway Twitty’s “Star-Spangled Heaven” and Elvis singing Mac Davis’s “In the Ghetto” raised my social consciousness and helped me to eventually understand the sorrows of life and the real message of Christmas — which has nothing at all to do with catalogues and commercialism.
The only item on my Christmas List this year is really a prayer instead of a wish: may every child and every animal that is born into this world have a safe and loving home, a warm bed, quality food, clean air and water, access to medical care – the opportunity to live in peace, free of fear.
Marian Carcache welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.