Santa Claus (or Santa), also known as Kris Kringle, St. Nicholas, St. Nick, or Father Christmas, is the old, plump, bearded, jolly guy in a red suit. He travels from the North Pole every Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to children all over the world – aboard his sleigh pulled by nine flying reindeer, he hops from roof to roof, enters houses through chimneys, and fills the stockings hanging by the fireplace with lots of presents. He is said to have eyes that twinkle, and a little round belly that shakes when he laughs (just like a bowl full of jelly!). His cheeks are as red as roses, his beard as white as snow, his nose is like a cherry, and his mouth drawn up like a bow. Santa has little helpers who make toys all year round, and he gives presents only to those who, according to his list, have been nice. He loves to drink milk and munch on cookies, and he greets everyone a Merry Christmas with the inherently Santa laugh, “Ho Ho Ho!”
I don’t remember when or how or why it happened. I just woke up one day knowing that Santa Claus is not real. And with that came the grim realization that we can’t and should never rely on others to make our wishes come true. Our dreams can turn into reality only through our own hard work and perseverance.
But what if there are things we fervently want but are simply beyond our grasp?
What if, for this holiday season, Santa Claus is real and he is our only hope?
I recently conducted an online survey among some of my Facebook friends to know what today’s adults would want to ask from Santa. And just like what happened when I did a survey last year to know what teens wished their parents knew (read about it here), I was blown away by the depth and candidness of the responses I received.
Have that box of tissues handy, folks! I’m telling you, you’ll need it.
- One school administrator’s wish is for his father to be with them again, even for this coming Christmas day. He wants his Tatang, who passed away in 2002, to see him back in the academe and witness how he and his siblings have lived up to their promise to take care of each other, their mother, and their children. He needs to see the pride that he was craving for in his father’s eyes, when his Tatang was still alive –to know that he has made him genuinely proud of the person he has become. For his second wish, he hopes that his US-based brother’s status will be legalized already, so he can finally be with his two teenaged sons who grew up without him. For his brother’s long years of many sacrifices, the school administrator believes that his time to be with his family is already overdue. For his third wish, he wants to have a “jowa” who will truly love him. He wishes that the guy will not bleed him dry, is not “jejemon,” and is neither pro-Marcos nor pro-Duterte.
- A bank executive’s wish is for Santa to kiss her mom for her on Christmas day. Her mom has been in the US for almost a year now, spending her first holidays outside of the country with another daughter.
- A mom of three boys and a wife to a man permanently bedridden due to multiple strokes has this wish: to win the lottery. The money will solve a lot of problems, not just for her family, but also for her community and the other families she met at the nursing home where her husband is kept. Such a heartbreaking yet inspiring story. The woman, though, is able to keep her strong faith and positive outlook in life despite her years of struggle.
- A friendly neighborhood physician’s wish is neither for him nor his family. It is for his 67-year-old patient who has stage-IV lung cancer and would have to go under the knife due to free fluid in her lungs. The patient had previously undergone a modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer. The doctor wanted to have a clinical conference with the patient and her children to discuss with them the prognosis and the procedure for the upcoming operation, but the children refused. They did not want their mother to know. The doctor’s wish is for the gifts of honesty and courage. He believes that, should his patient learn of her real condition, the latter has inner wisdom and strength that she can share with her children during the last days of her life and especially this coming Christmas. He wishes that the children will be able to muster enough courage to talk to their mother —openly, honestly and with complete acceptance— that when the day of saying goodbye comes, the separation will not be filled with sorrow and regrets. Rather, it will be a bittersweet occasion of saying, “Bye for now, till we meet again.” And, if it’s not too much to ask, this doctor also wants Php 2M, again, neither for him nor his family. It is for a 9th-grader who needs immediate surgery for the three enlarging aneurysms in her coronary arteries.
- This lovely mother who is living in the US with her American husband terribly misses her daughter, who was left in the Philippines with her parents. She wishes for the day when her daughter could finally join them — when she would wake up to the smiling face of her little girl again, when they will annoy and make each other laugh at the same time — every single day for the rest of their lives.
- A street proletariat and Martial Law victim, fed up with the proliferation of online douches in his FB news feed, has this wish: an anti-stupidity virus or malware with which he can infect the social media accounts of trolls, fanatics, and “tards” who sneak into his own account. Or, if Santa refuses to give harmful gifts, he would settle for a heavy dose of common sense to be administered to these social media pests — whether they want it or not.
- This devoted father of three just recently separated from his wife, and having to witness the heart-breaking psychological damage it has caused his children, has this wish to Santa. He hopes that his two older kids –aged 16 and 10—could snap out of the alienation being inflicted on them by their own mother. He also hopes to find a suitable job for himself the soonest possible time. For the country, though, he wishes that the peace talks would prosper, while for the world, he would rather think –wishfully– that Donald Trump was just a bad dream that he could easily wake up from.
- A St. Padre Pio devotee wishes for a chance to visit the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in Italy. According to her, the saint has, on many occasions, helped her in overcoming difficulties and struggles through his intercessions on her behalf. She recently underwent a successful surgery called balloon valvuloplasty, but still has to deal with lupus and interstitial lung disease.
- A Martial Law survivor wishes for benevolent and patriotic leaders. He hopes that Santa will deliver us from the wrath of demagogues as we toil with our daily grind and trudge on with our lives. He also wishes for the day that we miraculously get rid of our daily curse of traffic, for the drug war to be done and over with, and for the Philippine life to be as rosy as we’ve always dreamt it would be.
- A medical practitioner who migrated to the US with her family and is now playing the role of a stay-at-home mom to her 2-year-old baby, wishes that the government would start focusing on health reforms. Because healthcare professionals are greatly neglected in the country, only 70K out of a total of 130K licensed physicians are still practicing here; the rest have already migrated to other countries to seek the proverbial greener pastures. She fears that if this issue is not properly addressed, we will soon have a chronic shortage of medical personnel.
- A University of the Philippines student would like to ask Santa for a reset (Adam Sandler’s “Click” remote control immediately comes to mind). He said that there are many things in life he wishes he had done differently, or challenges that he wishes he had approached with a different mindset.
- An old classmate who radiates both inner and outer beauty wishes for Santa to bring home her brother-in-law. The latter has been missing for 14 years now and, according to her, it will be the best Christmas ever for their family if they finally see him.
- This dentist by profession is a businesswoman by occupation, but helping others has become her mission. It wouldn’t be surprising, then, that her wish to Santa is not for herself or her family, but for other people. According to her, she has always wished for this – that in this world, no parent would have to bear ever losing a child, and that all children have at least one person to love and take care of him.
- The wish of this single mom living in the Middle East with her two lovely girls is for her to see her mother even for a day —to hug her, kiss her, tell her that she loves her, spend the whole time with her chatting, laughing and making her feel that she is the luckiest daughter in the world. It’s been 15 years since she lost her Nanay and yet she still misses her deeply each day.
- A Filipino delegate to United Nation’s Young Innovators Fellowship Programme in New York has this profoundly simple and far-reaching wish to Santa: justice for everyone.
- A friend of mine whose job takes her to different countries wishes for complete healing. She first had a brush with (breast) cancer 12 years ago. Only a year later, it recurred and decided to “rest” for an entire decade. Last year, it made an unexpected comeback, and it was just last August when she learned that the cancer cells transferred from her breast to her brain. The healing she wants Santa to give her is not for her benefit, though —for she believes that if it’s her time, it’s her time. (No amount of treatments and bargaining and, yes, even prayers can change that.) She wishes to be healed for the sake of her family and all the people who love her and continue to support her in her valiant fight against the sneaky and despicable Big C.
- A Muslim lawyer and humanitarian wishes that our country’s children will grow up to a more inclusive, peaceful and kinder society.
- An employee of a giant pharmaceutical company wishes that her aunt, who became a mother figure to her, would enjoy excellent health and longer life. She also wants her father to find happiness and to manage disentangling himself from the grip of depression that continues to make life miserable for him.
- An educator in Denmark would ask Santa for everyone to have access to universal healthcare and education, regardless of race and nationality. She also wishes, half-jokingly, for a world completely devoid of politics.
- A Filipino immigrant in the US who stays actively involved in local politics has this fervent wish: to have a new Philippine president in 2017 in the person of VP Leni Robredo. Deeming the current government the most chaotic among the post-Martial Law administrations, she wants such change in leadership to happen within the bounds of the law which could only be possible if our sitting President could no longer perform his duties under circumstances fully recognized by the Constitution.
- My globe-trotting OFW cousin in Oman wishes for a day when no children would have to suffer from any kind of pain. On a personal note, she wishes to see her parents live to the ripe old age of 100 —happily and together.
- Another friend who is now in Cambodia doing some volunteer work wishes for the gift of togetherness, especially for this Yuletide season. She wishes that family, friends and loved ones can spend this most wonderful time of the year together, enjoying precious moments and creating happy experiences that will make for priceless and lasting memories.
- A 43-year-old Filipino immigrant in the US and a working mom who just gave birth to her second baby would like to ask Santa for a pocket-sized magic wand, which she can carry around and use to instantly get all her wishes come true with just one wave. She said that she doesn’t want to incessantly bother Santa with her wishes so this is, for her, the ideal solution.
- A young flight attendant based in US has come up with another profoundly simple wish: inner peace for everyone. She believes that the world would be a much better place if only we can all live with peace in our hearts.
- A graduating UP student who travels the world with her voice wishes everyone a life filled with faith, hope and love.
- A sorority sis who is now US-based with her family and is managing a consultancy firm of her own wishes for a kinder and smarter society that we can all continue to nurture and thrive in. And for world peace, of course.
- A Bagakeño working in Japan would like to ask Santa to continue providing him and his family with excellent health, guidance and love. I’m sure, he also wishes for a good-paying job here in the country so that he would no longer have to leave his family again.
- A 43-year-old friend whose marriage, sadly, has not been blessed with a child has this one wish for herself: a baby of her own! She has been used to taking care of and doting on her nieces and nephews that she knows in her heart that she will be a good mom if given that extraordinary gift of motherhood. For all her loved ones, she wants to ask Santa for good health, stamina, vigor and zest for life. She wouldn’t mind if Santa decides to give her a nice bag, too.
- A former UP iska-turned-Facebook connoisseur likewise wishes for good health of her loved ones, for the success of her Mini Stop business, and for peace and joy for everyone.
- Finally, this blogger, who goes by the name Mom On A Mission, has only one wish —that she could be Santa Claus for those she knows for even just a day. Reading all these wishes made her realize that there are still many people out there who are compassionate and generous enough to be willing to give their one wish to others. They don’t have perfect lives and they, too, are wanting, and yet they have the incredible capacity to forego this one chance at perfection or self-gratification to give it to someone else who needs it more. This blogger wants to have the incredible gift to grant the most deserving people their most fervent and most benevolent wishes. She needs to satiate her desire to change the world. One wish at a time.