Dear Santa.

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving with our family and loved ones we are reminded that Christmas is around the corner and we look forward to the Christmas season in hopes of feeling the joy and happiness we remember as children when we had an innocence and a child’s life free of worry and responsibility. Christmastime in our household was wonderful and it was a time of family togetherness, happiness and eager anticipation. We learned early that if we were good we would be visited by Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve while we were sleeping and we would receive some of the presents we wished for. I have so many fond memories of those days and sharing them with my wonderful mom and dad and my 2 younger sisters. I remember when mom would have us write our letters to Santa and how she would help us with writing it so we would word it properly and not sound too greedy. We always asked for practical things and some toys as it was the toys we most wanted.

As I am getting older my memory is not quite the same as it used to be but I can still remember back to some of our family Christmases of long ago and still feel those same feelings I did as a little kid and I can still manage to smile like I did way back then. This to me is truly important because those were special times in my life and it feels good to be able to remember some of them. The Christmas I received several toy cars, both hot wheels and match box and a racing track with the loop the loop was one that stood out for me as was the Christmas I received my first bicycle without training wheels. My sisters received nice presents as well but I was more focused on my own presents. I remember my sisters would look so cute in their Christmas dresses and mom would have me dressed in a nice white shirt and tie. My younger sister is 6 years younger than I so our first Christmas all together as a family of 5 including our parents was in 1967 when she was only 5 months old. I kind of remember that Christmas with my mom holding her in her arms and I enjoyed kissing her on her little cheeks when I was 6 years old. I remember telling mom that was a special Christmas having a little baby in the family and she patted me on the head and said what a good little boy I was. She made me feel good when she would do that.

I remember when we realized that not all our presents came from Santa and my sisters and I would sneak around to try to find them. We did find some on occasion but would not let on that we knew and we would still delight in the joy of opening them. Our parents were so generous and they made all our Christmases wonderful and joyous. We also enjoyed visiting at both our grandparents houses to celebrate the Christmas holiday and receive more presents and visit with our cousins and family relatives. We had such wonderful times and memories that still resonate with me and bring me back to a time that was magical. As we got older we still enjoyed the family celebrations and opening our presents and also remembering our parents and buying them presents too which was our way of showing them how special they were to us.

As a parent I take great joy in seeing my son all excited around the holidays and expressing his joy and happiness. I would also ask him to write his letter to Santa like my mom did when we were just kids. I notice my son would ask for similar things that I asked for when I was his age and I just take great joy in his childlike innocence and am proud how much he has grown from the very first Christmas we shared as a family back in 1998 when Matthew was an infant and Maria held him in her arms. It brought me back to the Christmas of 1967 when my mom held my baby sister in her arms. I was so happy for Maria and I that we now had a baby to share the holidays with and to share our lives with. It is the best Christmas present I could ever hope for, the birth of our son, Matthew on December 8, 1998 even though he insists his birthday is March 8, 1999, something I will never understand.

Our son is now 10 years old and will be 11 this Christmas and I am amazed how the time has gone by so quickly and how we all are getting a little older. I have many fond memories of celebrating Christmases with my wife and son, my dad and my sisters and their families. We had many joyous Christmases together and it was a pleasure to share with all of Matthew’s cousins and with “Pop”. Our dad was always so generous and so giving and this Christmas will be very difficult to celebrate as the twinkle in the star atop the tree will not be nearly as bright. We will hold on to “Pops” spirit and his kindness and celebrate Christmas in his honor and also celebrate Mom and Dad’s Christmas together again after so many years apart. It is our memories that give us joy and our family and loved ones that give us strength. So even though this Christmas will be sad knowing that dad is no longer with us we will still share in the celebration of being with family and loved ones. May we as a family all find joy in our heart and hold on to the precious memory of dad and keep the image of his youth and happiness alive through our lifetime.

This holiday season is difficult for so many because there are so many people hurting due to a depressed economy and fewer jobs and a lot of poor judgement in Washington DC. We are now feeling tough times hoping that we will still have a job so we can provide for our family and pay our monthly obligations. I have seen good friends laid off and are suffering and dealing with the possibility of foreclosure. These are people who work hard and have families and pay their taxes and at one time trusted in this country but now wonder why they are in danger of losing everything. As I hear this I often wonder why our leadership let it get this way. Christmas is a time for kids and I heard some children write letters to Santa asking him to find their daddy a job so he can pay for the house they are about to lose. When you hear this it just makes your heart sink and you hope these families will get the help and support they need and find gainful employment so they can get back on their feet and provide for their families, keep their homes and get their kids a little present for Christmas. I will pray for these families and try to do something to help give them hope but we all must do our part and we all must try our best to keep going so we can provide for our families at this most difficult time. I wish a Merry Christmas to all and healing for all those suffering.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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