Ryan Trares: Here comes Santa Claus

Earlier this week, I was asked a question I hadn’t considered in many, many years: what was I asking Santa for this Christmas?

Anthony and I were sitting in the car, waiting in the school drop-off line. Those minutes in the car offer us a nice chance to talk without any distractions — no iPads, no TV, no work emails to respond to.

On this particular morning, with Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas” playing on the radio, Anthony was going over the items he told Santa during a visit over the weekend. His top items were a new video game and some Star Wars toys, including a Millennium Falcon ship and an action figure of Chewbacca.

I agreed that sounded like a good list, and followed that up by asking if he had been a good boy. Without hesitation or any doubt, Anthony responded, “Oh yes.” Case closed, I guess.

But then he turned the tables. What was I asking the Big Man for?

This I was unprepared for. My Christmas list was, shall we say, in flux.

The people in my family — my mother, father and wife mostly — know that I’m notoriously difficult to buy gifts for. For one, I really don’t need anything, and it feels excessive to ask for things just because it’s a holiday. Also, I can be very picky. Clothes have to fit a particular way. Gadgets can be tricky, as I tend to fall way behind the curve on new technology.

So as the people who love me plead for ideas, I hem and haw and dance around the issue. Not that I want to be difficult, just that I don’t know what to tell them.

But there was no escaping this line of questioning from Anthony. I needed to know what I was asking Santa for, and I needed to know it right then.

Thinking quickly, I rattled off a few ideas: a new Ohio State t-shirt, a new Crock Pot for the kitchen, maybe my favorite album of the year on vinyl?

That seemed to appease Anthony. He pondered the ideas, only criticizing, “Are you sure you don’t want an Ohio State sweatshirt? You wear a lot of sweatshirts.” Overall, he gave his approval.

We’re probably winding down on his belief in Santa Claus; even now, he pokes at the legend, questioning how someone can travel around the world on one night, how his sled can have all of the gifts for people in his sled, how he gets into houses (like ours) without chimneys. “Magic” has served as an adequate answer up to this point. That won’t fly forever.

So while he’s at the apex of his excitement about Santa, we want to encourage that and stoke that belief. Even if that means breaking my tendencies when asking for gifts and making a list for St. Nick.

I’m glad that Anthony gave a thumbs-up to my wishes. Now I just hope Santa isn’t checking his naughty-or-nice list too closely.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]