I'm really writing too late to ask for anything proper for Christmas. If I had, the list would likely be populated with the same old things, scarves, and flannel, and fingerless gloves, indie comics and novelty t-shirts. There was the Gits hoodie that I had my eye on earlier, which I promptly forgot about until sitting down to write this. Mostly things I want that I have no place for, things I cannot buy myself, things that can wait, and be wanted again next year.
As a kid, I never really thought about what a letter to Santa was. An entitlement, probably. Kind of terrible. Which meant I thought of you as something tangible, someone real, who could be asked for things. And I didn't always write a list, sometimes I would just tell my dad. Because you two worked at same time, you were ships passing in the night, before I knew that could mean something other than it did. "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..." All the movies, the books. No visual. Complete faith.
Faith. A letter to Santa is a little like a prayer. A wish. I thought about writing this letter as though it were a wish, and I would say something like "Dear Santa, I don't want any presents this year. I would, however, like to win one for a change." But that's more entitlement. What I think I deserve. It's not a wish.
I have wished before. I sat on the lawn at Bennington in the middle of freezing nights and looked up at a brilliantly clear sky, and wished on the stars I'd see falling. Usually, I'd just wish someone might come along and join me. Once, someone did. I don't know if that means wishing works. I don't think that's what I'm worried about anyway.
So stars, and eyelashes. A wishbone, once [and if I had a kid, I'd tell them to double that up at Thanksgiving with their Christmas list -- you've gotta work the odds]. Birthday candles, but I'd always get performance anxiety there. I think I once just wished they'd go out. Probably doesn't count.
There's a song, by this New Haven band called Miracle Legion, who did the music for "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" under the name "Polaris" [sans one member, though, hence the moniker]. "I could have you, with a wish/but what am I supposed to do, with a wish that won't come true?" I think Ian burned me the CD. Before all that other stuff, about stars and eyelashes, that song is what I think about when I think about a wish. Not the greatest vote of confidence for wishing there, but that's just me. That's the sort of thing I'd probably wish for. I certainly could, but again, according to Mark Mulcahy, that might be sort of futile.
I'm rambling. So much of what I want for Christmas, or rather want out of Christmas, are things that I don't have anymore, and probably can't get back, at least not now. All these romantic notions in my head about big families and big meals, caroling, lights, horse-drawn carriages and really sentimental reasons to get all bundled up and go out into the nightly cold. Plus kicking-and-screaming shopping trips, brutally awkward conversations, and mad dashes to get every last minute thing done. Not to mention a lot of other stuff that is vaguely lame, and sometimes terrible, but absolutely brilliant if you have the right people, or right person, willing to indulge with you.
Of course, these things don't come as gifts. They're more the reason I want to give gifts every year. So I guess instead of asking for them, I'll just wish that the holidays find those I care about well, that the few parcels I sent out today arrive safely on time, and that any letters I manage to write are not unwanted by their recipients. They're small favors, Santa, but also the things I can't quite do on my own.