I love the headline for this article from Buzzfeed:

“26 Incredibly Meaningful Gifts You Can Give Your Kids
Because they don't need another Frozen toy.”

This is the philosophy that supports my continued writing, illustrating, painting, and hand lettering envelopes from Santa at the North Pole for (yikes) over 30 years.

I’m not saying I haven’t bought plenty (ok, too many) toys and clothes and stuff for my children over the years, and I have a growing appreciation for the minimalist approach, and for my mom who continues to clear things out of our childhood home so we won’t have to mess with it later.

But, if there was a fire and I could save one non-living thing...it would be my children’s Letters from Santa.

Archived in these letters are the funny, the somber, the wry, and the sentimental. The private jokes and shared family experiences. Moments captured that I would increasingly never remember if I hadn’tcommitted them to paper. In whimsical, water-colored, oh-so-much-attention-to-detail letters from Santa.

There is something about being able to send—and receive—a letter with a third person voice who desires nothing but the best for you.

This persona can freely communicate mild concern about questionable behaviors or choices in a far less judge-y voice than a parent: remember, you may absolutely not sneak out of your window to meet friends in the middle of the night, or express the heights of sentimentality without a parent’s overly sappy voice: I absolutely love the young man you are becoming!.

Admonishments to be aware of recognizing one’s gifts and talents and always seeking ways to use them in service can be expressed by Santa, and perhaps minimize eye-rolling by the child who feels embarrassed or skeptical to hear these words spoken by parents.

Think about the message you would hope to leave with your child. We’ll let Santa add it in the p.s.

You won’t have any problem leaving the Shufflerz behind if you need tosalvage a memory worth keeping.