When I was four years old and in fact during my entire childhood, everything was magic and awesome.
Experiencing Santa was no different.
Our family grew up in the Hebrew tradition, so Santa was not a normal conversation piece for us.
However, during a trip to my Mom's parents, it was decided that I would visit him at his local domain in the town Firehouse.
I felt excited and awe struck to be invited to visit this strange man who I had only heard about in songs played on the radio.
As we entered the open Firehouse garage, there he sat, seemingly on a throne and huge - - bigger than life-- in a magnificent red outfit and gigantic white beard.
I felt shy, timid, as I was led to this powerful presence who hosted children like myself on his lap.
Some of the children squirmed and squiggled, some laughed and giggled, some seemed to rub their eyes in disbelief.
When it was my turn, I watched as his gigantic fingers beckoned me to hop on.
With a big HO HO HO, he smiled and asked me what I wanted for Christmas.
Undoubtedly I told him that I didn't celebrate Christmas, but he invited me to share anyways.
My heart burst free and took wing as I gleefully told him all my childhood dreams of wondrous toys and other things.
What an amazing joy and release it was for me to share with him all the things that I desired in life and receive unconditional permission and head nodding in response.
Before I knew it, our session was finished.
On one hand, it felt like a total healing for me to have such permission to share my dreams.
On the other hand, I felt awe and confusion about what just happened.
They actually taped that session onto the equivalent of a 78 RPM recording.
Years later, I found the record and listened with awe at my high pitched child voice
filled with excitement that mingled with infinite amounts of scratches on a record seemingly ready to leap off the turn table at any moment.
So went my only encounter with Santa.
Regardless of your tradition, I wish you a very happy Holiday season.
(C) Stephen Levine, All Rights Reserved