Not everyone is lucky enough to meet Santa Claus in real life. But, I’ll tell you a secret: My grandpa was Santa Claus – or at least I genuinely believed so for years. He rocked the full Santa look, from the white beard to his own custom-made Santa suit. It’s been years since my grandpa passed away, but the lessons he taught me as Santa Claus will stay with me forever. Here are six of the best lessons I learned from my grandpa, Santa Claus:
1. You have the ability to create magic.
When I was a child, Christmas Eve meant tracking Santa’s journey on NORAD. My grandpa would coordinate with my parents to know when I was watching. He then always called me from his “sleigh” to tell me about wherever he was in the world. Now that I’m older, I try to recreate the same magic for all of the children in my family. I tell them the same stories that my Grandpa told me, and introduced them to the NORAD Santa tracker. In this way, my grandpa taught me that with some creativity and a positive attitude, everyone has the ability to create magic.
2. You always have time to be kind.
These days, it’s common to see people irritated at the slightest inconveniences. But even though my grandpa had a busy schedule, when children thought he was Santa, he’d never disappoint them. In fact, my grandpa made custom Santa Claus business cards and gave them to children who believed that he was Santa. No matter what happened in my grandpa’s life, he’d drop everything to be Santa for any child who called him. We can learn from my grandpa that being kind is worth our time. This holiday season, we should make the effort to hold the door open for someone or buy coffee for whoever is in line behind us. Small acts of kindness spread so much joy.
3. Be aware of the energy around you.
My grandpa always had a special Santa sense for knowing when someone around him is down or stressed. When he played Santa, he made it his mission to lend an ear or a helping hand to anyone who needed it. Likewise, during this pandemic, it’s important for us to be aware of those who might be struggling and to try to help them if we can.
4. Release your inner child.
Even though my grandpa was an old man on the outside, he always remained young at heart. I watched him volunteer as a mall Santa one year, and I’m not sure if his eyes or the children’s eyes lit up more as they discussed toys and the holidays together. Because my grandpa stayed connected to his inner child, he lived a life full of extraordinary adventures and discoveries. Like my grandpa, we should all strive to live lives of joy, curiosity, and kindness.
5. Leave the world better than you found it.
As Santa Claus, my grandpa touched so many lives. It’s been almost 10 years since his death, but I’m still meeting people who have stories to share about how my grandpa positively impacted their lives. He left the world a happier place than when he found it. Because of my grandpa, I strive to improve the lives of the people I meet. I hope that people feel they are better because they knew me, and I hope that you live your life in the same way.
6. Hug your loved ones a little tighter (after COVID-19 is over).
My grandpa taught me the hardest lesson of all after he passed away. The time you have with your loved ones is valuable, and you never know how long you have with them until they’re gone. Don’t take a single day with your loved ones for granted because in the end, all you’ll have is memories. I’m grateful that the memories I have of my grandpa are full of light and magic. This holiday season, send your family and friends lots of virtual love, and make memories that you’ll never forget.
In today’s scary world, remembering the selflessness and kindness that my grandpa lived for would do us all good. We may not look as much like Santa Claus as he did or own a custom-made Santa suit, but we all have the ability to make the world a bit more magical and spread joy this holiday season (and every day!)
Featured Photo via contributor.