Santa needs more than cookies and milk this year

This year, because of dire economic times, there will be fewer Christmas presents under the tree. We should embrace the bad news and use this holiday season to remember how much our family means to us.

Elodia Terrazas
Elodia Terrazas

Last week, I went over to my cousins’ house to have a movie night. The 12-year-old girl, Consuelo, and her 6-year-old brother, Emilio, are precious. Walking to the other side of the living room, I find myself searching for the few spots of wood not carpeted with newspapers and ripped magazines. Finally, I make it to the other side and, after the smooches, hugs and confessions of secret boyfriends and girlfriends, I discover what the clutter is all about.

I realize I am not just jumping over paper but images of iPods, CDs, movies, digital cameras, books and Wii games. They were all sloppily glued on a piece of paper headed by the line: “Dear Santa, My Wish List,…”

The fact that they asked for expensive gifts did not bother me (because I am convinced their parents would love to buy them all they ask for and more). It’s just that I think they have set themselves up for disappointment.

Later, as they began explaining to me what they wanted from Santa with giddy smiles and twinkles in their eyes, I helped paste pictures on the wish list with them. And then it happened. My aunt delivered the bad news: Santa might not be bringing as many presents this year.

My older cousin probably knows that Santa is not exactly “real” and can handle it, but my little cousin doesn’t understand yet.

“But why wouldn’t he? We leave him cookies and milk every year,” he asked.

“Well, Santa might need more than just milk and cookies to bring all those presents,” my aunts responded with a comforting smile. At least for the moment, my cousin seemed to understand.

My mom grew up with 11 siblings to whom the “Three Wise Kings” gave presents. She vividly remembers the Christmas that she received a letter from the Three Wise Kings explaining that they couldn’t bring the presents that day, but would bring them as soon as they could. Years later, she still feels her heart break as she remembers that letter—not for the lack of presents, but because she cannot imagine how hard it must have been for her mother to write the letter.

This year, I’m not asking for much, just a happy home and wonderful dinner with the family. Yes, Santa needs more than milk and cookies this year due to the economic crisis, but we also need more—more happiness, more laughter and more joy within our family.

Give your parents a big hug this year­—a bigger one than usual. Actually, give everyone you see a warm hug, especially those who go out of their way to please you. Save that wish list for another year and enjoy the cookies and milk with your family. I’m sure Mr. Claus won’t mind.