by Tonya Brantley
The Christmas season seems to bring out the kid in all of us. Perhaps it's because many childhood memories center around those special gifts we asked Santa for and woke up early on Christmas morning to find under the tree. For me, Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. I bet I'm not alone when it comes to remembering those special presents. For me there was my red bicycle, just like my older brother's, my Daisy BB gun, my doll house, my Cabbage Patch Kid, and I'll never forget Buster... my Pound Puppy.
Some of my fondest memories of Christmas are the presents from my grandparents. I don't remember them for the gifts themselves, but more for the way they were wrapped. The wrapping paper was always metallic and shiny with the bows and ribbons color coordinated to match. The gift tags always read: To Tonya, From Santa. I knew those presents were wrapped with extra care especially for us grandkids.
Then there were the nights trying to stay awake to catch a glimpse of Santa, even though I knew I was taking the risk of not getting presents in order to possibly see the jolly man in red. It never failed though... I never could stay awake the whole night. I always wondered what he really looked like and if he enjoyed the milk and cookies I left for him. So, you can imagine my excitement when I recently got the opportunity to interview the man himself. The one, the only, Santa Claus! He was in town checking on the progress of several of his little helpers at Lee University who were wrapping presents for Operation Christmas Child. I asked him the following:
T: Are you excited about the 2009 Christmas season? S: Oh yeah, every year!
T: I know you've been making your list and checking it twice. Are there more naughty or nice children this year? S: There are more good children.
T: How does a child get off the naughty list? S: They gotta be good, do things for their parents and don't fight with their brothers or sisters. I'm going to be watching. Every time they fight with their brothers or sisters, that's going to be a point against them. If they get too many points they may not get what they want for Christmas.
T: Exactly how do you visit the whole world in one night and deliver presents to millions of children? S: One night a year I have magic dust. It's kept away in a secret hiding place, and on that night I sprinkle the reindeer, the sleigh and myself and we can travel all over the world in one night. The magic dust is only used that one night a year.
T: Are Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer in shape for the big flight? S: Yes, they've been resting all summer long. Eating and resting.
T: What do think the most requested gift is going to be this year? S: I have a feeling it's going to be some kind of computer type game, but it's really hard to tell until I get out there and start talking to the kids.