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Help buy toys for poor kids in Mexico for Christmas and for Three Kings Day January 6!
Our neighbor, Reverend Garry Wilburn, his body ravaged by ALS, nevertheless managed to write the wonderful book Lots of Love. In it he tells this story:
“It was Christmas time. Mom and Dad assured their chronically ill toddler that she would get to meet Santa. For weeks the little girl spoke of nothing else. Mom prayed for a Santa that would live up to her daughter’s expectations. Finally, on one of the little girl’s better days, Mom decided that this was the day. To avoid lengthy lines, they arrived just as the mall was opening and Santa was settling into his big chair.
When the little girl saw him, she squealed, “Santa Claus!” and darted past a few assistant elves toward Santa. The slightly startled Santa greeted her with a big smile and swept her into his ample lap. She snuggled in and stroked his beard, and uttered in joyful awe, ”Santa!” For several minutes, Santa and the Little girl talked and laughed like two old friends, oblivious to the small crowd gathered to share in the magic of the moment.
The toddler’s mother stood nearby, her eyes filled with tears of joy. Just then, a man edged over to her and to her surprise, she noticed that his eyes were as moist as hers. “Is that your little girl?” he asked quietly. The woman nodded.
With a catch in his voice and a quiet pride, the man said, ”Santa is my son.”
In the 1940’s my Dad, a young Jewish man, got a job as a Santa Claus at Macy’s Department Store in New Rochelle, New York. A spirit came over him that transcends all religions. After work he roamed the streets as Santa. Somehow he was guided to play “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” on an accordion, despite the fact that he had never played a musical instrument before. Children squealed with joy as he brought them little toys and ministered to the sick. He wandered into the home of a paraplegic Irishman, eliciting glee in his eyes and gratitude from the family who patted him on the back and offered a shot of whisky. “Thanks, but I don’t drink,” Santa replied. Their faces were puzzled: this couldn’t be one of their friends. Who was this mysterious soul behind the long white beard?
All year around my dad carried “Little Turtles of Happiness” in his pocket and gave them away. He’d withdraw their little rubber heads and legs into their shells, and talk about how sometimes we want to just withdraw and hide from the pain of the world. Then he'd nuzzle two turtles together, and out would pop their little heads! “The power of love brings us out of our shells,” he would explain. My father’s name was Leon, which is NOEL spelled backwards.
When I was 4 ½ years old, my mom died, and my dad was so heartbroken he lost the Santa spirit. Year later, after I graduated from College I bought him a Santa suit for his birthday. As he opened the surprise gift, he gasped: “My clothes. I haven’t worn my clothes in 30 years!” He began doing Santa again to the delight of Children at the Friends Meeting.
One Christmas. to cheer up a friend in the hospital, I borrowed my dad’s suit. My friend was heartened by my visit, and afterwards I went to the children’s ward with a bag of toys. The kids looked miserable – burned faces, legs hoisted up in traction, an arm in a sling. All of a sudden they spotted me and the misery vanished. “Santa,” they yelled.
As the kid in the sling one-handedly played with his spinning gizmo I knew that this was bigger than me, bigger than a man in a red suit. When you don the magic robes, you suddenly become what all religions preach: one! All who are filled with the spirit of giving are the real Santa Claus.
As the kids played happily, I slipped away to go home. “Wouldn’t you like to visit some of the other wards, Santa?” the nurse asked.
“Well, I don’t know,” I said, a little embarrassed. “Adults aren’t going to want some guy in a Santa suit bothering them.” But she convinced me to give it a try. In the first room, an elderly woman gripped my hand. “Santa,” she said with a pained smile, “I’m so glad you came. I just found out that I’m dying.” Choking up, I couldn’t speak so I just looked serenely in her face, and held her hand for what felt like an eternity. A look of peace came over her eyes as I had the joy of being the carrier of that universal spirit.
I became Santa like my papa Noel. In Santa Fe, I had the thrill of giving away an entire toy-store full of toys. At Casa Real retirement home, I danced with ladies in their walkers. On Southwest airlines people asked me to present their gifts to loved ones and the pilot announced on the intercom the progress of my reindeer dashing along side.
When Molly’s mom was in a nursing home, I had no gifts for grownups, so I tried giving out the only toys I had, stuffed animals. Some smiled, some laughed, some hugged their toys and cried. “Some of them have been non-responsive for years,” said an amazed nurse. “Somehow you must have awakened a memory from their childhood.”
Although my dad passed away at age 86, I feel his spirit coming alive in the playful joy of Christmas. I can almost hear him saying: “Santa is my son!”
For the past few years I’ve grown out my beard as the solstice approached, bleached it white, and donned the magic robes to do Santa for poor children in Mexico. The wonderful beach community of La Mision is filled with the finest elves, rivaling the North pole. These friends and the Airline Ambassadors have donated thousands of toys for me to give away to children.
At www.facebook.com/Santa.Christmas, you can see some pictures of the happy children at schools and orphanages. What thrills me about giving to these kids is that they don’t have a chest full of toys – my gift may well be the only Christmas present some of them receive. Months after Christmas, I’ve seen kids dragging around their perros y osos, some now quite thread-bear.
This year toy donations were very slow – everyone seems to be hurting.
Short of toys, I thought about skipping one of the local schools, but then remembered that when I did that one year, the kids were crying.
So I scrounged up all the toys I could find – all the ones in the attic I bought at after Christmas sales last year, and others from around the house.
My last stop was A little one-room school house surrounded by a dirt field in a Ursulo Galvan a very poor little village just south of La Salina. There are only 14 kids in the tiny school, no bigger than most of our living rooms.
Little Eliza, ran up and welcomed Santa with a big kiss. Last year I learned that she was too young to be at school, but she kept running away from home – to school! Finally, tired of taking her back home, the teacher let her have a desk. This year she’s official, and a very good student!
Our Elves had wrapped the presents, marking them boy or girl and age. Santa didn’t even know what was in them. Yet, each kid got exactly the most wanted toy, almost as if by magic. Young Maria got the doll she craved, and Benjamin the paint set he’d longed for so he could pursue his dream of being an artist.
One mother told us she and the other mothers had spent three days preparing food for Santa’s arrival, hoping each day that he’d arrive for this special posada. But her boy, she said, was home sick and really needed a present. I was out of the wrapped presents, so I gave her a hand carved wooden alligator that opened and closed its mouth as it rolled along.
Later when I got home and told Molly the story she said “What? You gave away my alligator? I loved that alligator.” But when I told her how the mother’s face just lit up with glee, she decided it had gone for a good cause.
So I thank all of you who have contributed toys. And if you can pick up more toys at after-Christmas sales, please go ahead and drop them off at our beach house in La Mision. Or mail them to: 4492 Camino de la Plaza #564, San Diego, CA 92173. You can also send donations, made out to “Future WAVE,” our tax exempt 501 (c)3. And you can help the Santa cause via PayPal at www.SantaCaus.org [No el]
What about presents for you and your family? Oh, do I have some ideas.
The first is an audio you can give your kids and grandkids, or just as a treat to your own inner child.
Santa’s Magical Journey, is a special opportunity for you to take an imaginary ride with Santa in his sled and to experience first hand the joy of giving. The CD audiobook is just 99 cents on Amazon. Click here to buy now -> Santa's Magical Journey.
The Second Gift is a wonderful tool for you and the other kids ages 8-80 and more to learn how to get what you want out of life without violence or intimidation. Bustout Bear, Understanding Unicorn, Listening Lynx, Loving Lion and Yin Yang Yak will dance into your life, along with 5 other B.U.L.L.Y.P.R.O.O.F. animal characters, bringing you powerful messages that are so fun and funny you won’t forget them. To enjoy your gift, simply go to www.BullyProof.org and watch the videos. Click on the soundtrack on the K-8 page and hear the delightful children’s puppet story. Play a game of scrolling over the animal characters to glean their powerful lessons. And download Free the stageplay of our teen rap’n roll opera, or the kid’s “Quest for the Bullyproof Shields.” Your kids can do the puppet play at home or in school. A fabulous puppeteer is working with us to develop the Quest into a proposal for a kids TV show and DVD. Let us know if you’d like to help!
The Third Gift is Peace on Earth. Or at least the beginning of it. It’s a 5 minute short documentary that introduces a project designed to inject into the popular culture the way to give humanity the tools to actually create Peace on Earth. No longer will it just be tucked away in a Christmas song – it will become a practical, political reality. To watch this short simply go to my site www.OneFilms.com www.OneFilms.com and click on the story tab. You’ll be introduced to a man who, like Santa, is a citizen of no one nation, only the world. Let me know if you’d like to read screenplay I wrote the other part of the year, when I’m not Santa, just Arthur Kanegis. It’s called “Just One!” and it is based on the true story of this intriguing character.
Ever wonder what passport Santa carries as he flies around the world? (The North Pole doesn’t issue one.) A World Passport, of course! You can apply for yours at www.worldservice.org.
I want you to know I hold you in my thoughts and love. Have the merriest Christmas, Solstice; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa; Ramadan and more! For all the words boil down to this: The joy of love and the spirit of giving in your heart.
Help Santa’s Caus! PayPal your Tax-deductible donation:
Online at www.SantaCaus.org
Or mail in your Santa earmarked check payable to:
Future Wave, a 501 (c ) 3 nonprofit organization
Donate Toys, Funds & Gifts for Needy Families:
c/o Arthur Kanegis
4492 Camino de La Plaza #564
San Diego, CA 92173
© 2012 Arthur Kanegis