A lot of children this time of year wonder what would happen if Santa decided not to come. They imagine the despair they would feel on Christmas morning if there were no presents under the tree. A few ask the question of how Santa gets it all done in one night, and some may even think about how tired he must be when Christmas Eve is over and everything is delivered. But how many of them are magnanimous enough to say that Santa deserves a year off because he works so hard? I can't think of any that I know . . . Isaac sure wouldn't.
It is hard as a parent to balance the "give me" aspect of this holiday with the "let's give to others" attitude that we want to foster. Writing letters to Santa is fun and whimsical, but asking others what we can give is harder than listing out the things we want to get. That's why I liked the updated version of the book The Year Without a Santa Claus by Phyllis McGinley.
Every child's fear comes true in this book when Santa decides he is too tired to deliver toys and he needs a vacation. An announcement goes out letting the children know not to expect him. Most react as expected, but one stands up, says Santa deserves a break, and begins a campaign to reverse the ususal roles and give to Santa rather than get something from him. The children of the world respond and Santa receives so many gifts that he needs to clear off his toy shelves to make room for them all. What does he do? He takes a ride on his sleigh and hands out the toys that he has no room for.
This isn't the greatest Christmas book ever written, but it's a nice change to have the giving being done by the children with Santa as the recipient. There are Christmas TV specials based on the original version of the book. This new Santa makes his decision for less grumpy reasons than the one in the TV versions, though. Santa just needs a break. Who doesn't at this time of year?