THE INSIDE SCOOP: Organizing Letters to Santa section opened my eyes and heart

With everything that has went on this year, whether it’s been COVID-19 or even the murder hornets, I think I can speak for all of us when I say it’s not exactly been the easiest of times.

Some days, I have let myself drown in the challenges I’ve faced this past year, but being that we’re in the home stretch now, I’ve found myself getting a little excited for 2021 — let’s just hope it was just a bad year and not the start of a bad decade.

Anyway, Christmastime is normally my absolute favorite time of year. If you ask pretty much anyone who knows me outside of the pages my writings call home, they will tell you how I’m always down to listen to Christmas music even if it’s the middle of June or willing to help decorate wherever needed.

But this year was completely the opposite for me.

Instead of the sheer excitement I normally feel for this time of year, which I’ve honestly started calling Hallothankmas after seeing a meme on Facebook for October through December, I felt lost and empty, like I didn’t really know what was even going on anymore.

I found myself getting my days and nights mixed up like my almost two-year-old daughter did when she was a newborn. I found myself impatient and just ready to get this time of year over with so I wouldn’t be so busy.

Then something happened that is a little hard to explain, but I’ll do my best to explain it anyway.

Roughly around the end of November, I started receiving many of your kiddos’ letters to Santa, many of which you just can’t help but smile or chuckle at.

It’s something about the innocence of a kid just knowing exactly what they want and when that gets to me sometimes because, as an adult now, I sometimes wish I were the same way but it’s… complicated.

From puppies to toys to makeup, these kids have poured their hearts out to Santa, and I was able to read each and every one of them while I compiled them into a list for our Letters to Santa special section in today’s edition.

Some of the letters, however, didn’t make me smile like the others. Instead, they opened my eyes up to how blessed I am and how even kids understand life’s hardships.

A lot of the letters you will read also ask for Santa to bless someone else, not just the child who wrote the letter asking for something. Most of the time, it’s a brother or sister or even a pet they think of, but I find it heartwarming to see how selfless these babies can really be.

In a few others, like one from Eli Belcher, it wasn’t necessarily the video games or dirt bike that got me, but the if-you-could-make-a-way-for-me-to-go-hunting-it-would-be-a-blessing request that did.

I can’t tell you how many times when I was around Eli’s age that I went hunting with my dad and didn’t appreciate it at the time. Looking back as I venture further into adulthood, I cherish those memories and wish I could make more as my dad progresses in a healthier lifestyle after open-heart surgery in the late summer.

Another letter from Tucker Absher said his baby brother may arrive before Christmas and asked if Santa would please bring him something too. And another, from Kayden Sumpter, said she hoped all the kids get what they want for Christmas so they can be happy.

Of all of these and more, the one that stuck with me the most was from Jeffrey McVey, who asked Santa to please remember his nanny because she was battling cancer.

“I would like to see her feel good and enjoy Christmas,” he said.

I’m reminded daily, especially by each of these little ones, that although 2020 has been rough, we have so much to look forward to instead of getting down in the dumps about a lot of things we can’t help.

Instead of being a Scrooge this year because of everything that might have gone wrong for me, I want to be like each of these kids again, who love so carelessly and care so vastly.

I’m counting what blessings I did have from 2020 so my tomorrow looks a little brighter. What about you?