THINK TALK: First Reply to ‘Letter to Santa Claus’

MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 6 December) – Before you may think that it was Santa Claus who made this reply, I had the permission of the writer to publish her generous comments.

I sought her permission as this “reply” not only served as a fitting reaction, but also, it had substantially enriched the Santa Claus story and presented the other relevant view to it.


December 2, 2022
Somewhere in the Philippines

Dear Dr. Maxim:

Good day. Well, it’s difficult not to speak out for such an interesting letter. It has a nostalgic flair, too, for I remember writing notes to Santa when I was younger. Now that I’m an adult, it feels very different now.

I wish I still have this kind of faith. But perhaps, the real Santas are those people we encounter randomly, every day, with a random acts of kindness, no matter how small.

I find it interesting that you may be Muslim and I may be a baptized Catholic (yet an neutral, non-atheist/non-theist kind of person), and I think Christmas is just too commercialized; we all forget that each day should be one.

“At this time of the year, I know you have not been to any place yet as you are busy making a list and checking it twice. I wonder for whom your gifts are intended to after finding out who’s naughty or nice and good or bad. Are they for the nice and good children only, for the naughty and bad or for both? I ask this silly question however I know that you do not discriminate in the matter of giving gifts. But what are those gifts for if they were not meant as incentives for children to be nice and good? I leave everything to you and assume that you know better.

“Somehow, you can’t keep me from wondering why you keep doing what you do? What do you get in return? And why do you leave Mrs. Claus all alone, out in the cold, on Christmas Eve? I think that is quite unkind of you to stay away from your loved ones on a night that is supposed to be special.”

This got me thinking, you know, that kindness is supposed to be unconditional, like love, and not some sort of incentive. Or is this because Santas are our parents, stealthily placing gifts in the middle of the night so children would behave? But truth be told, sometimes we just have to be generous and thoughtful just so, not just because someone is being good. At times, perhaps, giving something great to people who are “bad” or “naughty” makes you a better person if not at par with Santa Claus.

This is too much of a classical conditioning.

Now, this is more like what I wish Santa would address:

“I hope you are safe, Santa. More than your safety though, I wish that what you do makes you happy. I know a lot of people who are unhappy. I think they are stressed by selfishness, greed, pride and vanity, arrogance, envy or simply by their unfortunate circumstances. I wish you could give them happiness instead of material gifts which do not guarantee long and lasting joy. I really wish gift-giving isn’t so materialistic this time. In fact if I had known that you also give PEACE as a gift, I would rather prefer that over anything else. That is so wanting in our Mindanao or probably in the whole world now.”

Yet happiness is a choice, or a perspective. It’s true that many people are not happy because of their own demons, so to say. Very well said and very well written, I must say.

Now, if only the world would realize everyone can be Santa Claus, giving because it makes us happy when we see others smile, because sharing with a fellow human being is love, and because love is that thing that makes mankind survive as a species, this world is already heaven to live in.

I feel for our brethren in Mindanao, and in the whole world.

Sincerely,

Vivien Lopez


(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in rural development. He is a freelance writer, planning consultant, and teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school. He can be contacted at mauganmosaid6@gmail.com.)