Archived Story

Santa letter creates new perspective

Published 12:22pm Tuesday, December 25, 2012

As a journalist, my job is to report on events, people and places. Being a reporter means I need to stay objective and not become personally involved in my stories, and usually I do a good job of that.

But Tuesday I ran across something that simply broke my heart.

As we prepared our annual letters to Santa special section last week, everyone in The Outlook office was asked to type a stack of letters, handwritten by local elementary school children.

We in the newsroom took turns laughing at their spellings of toys, trying to figure out what letter they had innocently scribbled and reminiscing about what we had wished for in Christmases past.

But Tuesday afternoon Alison James and I ran across one letter that inspired a different reaction in both of us.

Most of the letters we typed were lengthy lists wishing for things like dolls, scooters, Dream Lites pets (this one required a Google search) and iPads.

But one little girl asked for a Christmas tree, ornaments, a nice kitchen for her mother and any presents for her sisters.

I don’t feel like any less of a journalist to say my eyes watered as I read and reread her letter.

I just couldn’t believe a child who could be no more than 8 years old was generous enough to think of someone other than herself. She wished for things that her entire family could enjoy.

I have a younger sister and brother, and I don’t think I ever once listed them in a letter to Santa.

I have never wished for a Christmas tree or ornaments – they were just parts of the holiday that I took for granted.

In fact during my teenage years, there were several Christmases I was very annoyed at having to spend an entire Saturday with my family to select and decorate a tree.

And as Dane and I set up our first Christmas tree as a married couple, we both had some cross words for it as we tried to make the $2.99 strings of lights actually light up.

But as I sit by our Christmas tree this year, I will make an extra effort to not only enjoy its presence and appreciate its beauty, but also the people who will be sitting next to me.

This Christmas I am going to try to remember that no matter what wonderful presents my brother, sister and I unwrap having people to love is the best gift of all.

I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas, and I pray that you will take just a moment amid the holiday cheer to be grateful for everything and everyone around you.

Pemberton is a staff writer for The Outlook.