When I was little, I loved going into the old Cleveland Mall and climbing up on Santa’s lap to tell him in person what I wanted for Christmas. I knew he wasn’t really Santa because I could tell his beard was fake, but I managed to convince myself he was one of Santa’s “helpers” and could be relied upon to pass my Christmas list on to the real Santa.
But just in case he didn’t, I would also write out my Christmas list, address it to Santa Claus c/o the North Pole and drop it off at the Cleveland post office downtown. Then, just for good measure, I’d tell my parents what I wanted. I figured that between those three things, I could count on at least some of the stuff I wanted getting to me.
Well, since it’s been so many years since I’ve written to Santa Claus, and since I am preparing to leave the Tennessee Legislature after over seven years of service, I thought it was about time I sit down now as an adult and write out a brand new Christmas list, to see if Santa will come through for me like he used to. So here we go:
I hope this letter finds you and your lovely wife, Mrs. Claus, well and happy. Once again, I sit down to compile a list of things I would like to receive this year. You have always been accommodating in the past and I trust this Christmas will be no different.
1. First of all, Santa, I would like everyone in the 22nd District to know what an honor it has been serving them over the years. I’ve worked long and hard, along with my fellow legislators, to reduce taxes in the state, to increase educational opportunities for all children and teens, to create jobs in our area, and to help reduce violent crime and ease the trauma of crime victims. Please let everyone know how much I appreciate the confidence placed in me and I hope I didn’t let them down. Tell them to elect their representatives wisely and select people who will continue our good work.
2. Next, I would like to see every child who needs a warm winter coat get one. Santa, over the past 13 years, our “Coats for the Cold” program has distributed more than 10,000 coats to children in need, and I’m asking that you help us continue for many years to come. Please tell everyone in the community that we, and especially the kids, are grateful for their help.
3. Santa, as you probably already know, America is the greatest nation on earth, but we seem to be losing our way. This Christmas, I would like for you to bring everyone (especially our leaders in Washington) a burning desire to reclaim that which made us great as a country: hard work, independence, innovation, and respect for other peoples’ property, efforts and opinions. The U.S. was built on rock-solid principles as laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Those principles have kept us intact for over 200 years, and I hope this year you will bring us all a renewed commitment to them.
4. Speaking of the Constitution and the ones who are charged with upholding it, I would like you to bring all elected leaders a sense of fairness, patriotism and sound judgment. Santa, can you make politicians understand that it serves no good purpose when they snipe, sneer and belittle those with whom they disagree? I would like to have them wake up on Christmas morning like old Ebenezer Scrooge with changed hearts and a determination to work together for the good of the citizens they are sworn to serve. I know it will be difficult, Santa, but I hope you will at least try.
5. Santa, I would like for you to bring safety, wisdom and blessings to our public servants here in Bradley County. Our law enforcement officers, emergency workers and medical personnel are the best in the state. When natural disaster strikes our area, or whenever they are needed, they are there to minimize damage through tireless effort and strength of will. While the rest of us are at home with friends and families enjoying the holidays, so many of our public servants are out there on the job, keeping us safe. Please tell them we are thankful and their hard work does not go unnoticed.
6. Lastly, Santa, I know you are not real. You are simply a symbol that represents the magic of Christmas; a symbol of generosity, kindness and the spirit of giving. But there is another who represents all those qualities as well, and He is real. His name is Jesus and he is the reason so many of us celebrate Christmas in the first place. It is my hope that every time people see Him depicted as a baby lying in a manger, they will reflect on the man He grew up to be, because therein lies the cure to every problem and the answer to every need.
I could go on and on, Santa, but I want to get this in the mail before the last-minute Christmas rush. I look forward to your impending visit. The key to the front door will be under the mat and a plate of cookies will be on the kitchen counter. Please feel free to take some with you for the elves.
Thank you, Santa. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may we meet each new day of the coming New Year with peace on earth and goodwill to others foremost in our thoughts.
P.S. — As you know, I have been a good boy.