Historically speaking, Mrs. Claus has always been the person behind the scenes in the life of her iconic husband, Santa Claus, in any infamous Christmas story. You know the old saying, “behind every successful man, is a woman”? Well, whoever said that must have had Mrs. Claus in mind. She is strong, caring, and quite possibly the one who does most, if not all of the work in this Christmas operation, and likely a great deal of the preparation throughout the year too. I think we can all agree that this year has been a year unlike any other, causing the women of the household to wear many hats from baseball cap to Santa hat. And during this time of Thanksgiving, reflection and celebration, it is also a time to honor the women in our lives that have graciously given so much to us over this past year, and always. That person would be you, the moms in our lives that have selflessly sacrificed so much to be able to be the best they can be for our families. The Mrs. Claus is you, Moms.
In honor of the Dear Mrs. Claus campaign at Zulily, I would like to share a personal story about the Mrs. Claus in my life, my mom. Growing up my mom was the kind that had everything under control and never forgot an occasion or holiday. She loved throwing us themed birthday parties and dressed us up in elaborate (mostly handmade) costumes on Halloween. She would volunteer as a parent leader at summer camps and chaperone high school dances, carpool our large group of friends to and from school and ensure we had after school snacks prepared for sports practice. She made lunches and dinners all while helping with homework, endless amounts of laundry or tidying up the house. During the holidays, “Mom Claus,” would put up two different 9-foot Christmas trees, one in the living room and one in the dining room, and decorate them all by herself reaching as tall as she could on a giant wooden ladder. One would be decorated with her annual Christmas theme of choice and one as our family tree with all of the heirloom type ornaments we had collected over the years. She turned our house into the coziest Christmas home for the holidays. Sparkling lights and candles were lit with the scents of Christmas cheer and the dining room table was adorned with her extensive collection of Santa Claus statuettes. There was barely an inch of space in our house that was without a touch of Christmas decor, all of which was so tastefully done, it could have been published in an interior design magazine. It makes me laugh today because I think my mom was way ahead of her time. If social media had existed back then, she would have been a major influencer! I knew she was to me though, as this trait has been instilled in me since a very young age: the ability to create beautiful surroundings in which you dwell.
She also is known for always having the most clever Christmas card every year that everyone she sends one to (over 500 people) in our small rural community and elsewhere looked forward to each year. She is something of a creative genius when it came to putting words next to photographs. One Christmas back in the 90s, while we were in the middle of a kitchen remodel, we photographed ourselves (family of 5) outside of an old dilapidated barn, and joked how happy we were with the outcome of our new “updated” home. This was pretty funny and got a lot of people’s interest and laughs all over town. She has not missed a year since her first child was born, my older sister, 39 years and counting.
She also buys the gifts for our entire family – ones that make every member feel special. The type of gifts that you are dying to receive every year and that are carefully selected by her too. And you are always on your toes when opening your gift because each gift tag comes cleverly written with a clue of its contents on it. So, it quickly becomes a guessing game of if you can figure out what is in it. One year, most likely circa 2003, I received a gift from “Paris Hilton” and received a Juicy Couture Velour Jumpsuit! (So hot back then!) Other notable gift tag honorable mentions were from: “Steve Jobs” as an Apple iPad, “Joe Montana” as a 49er football jersey, and “Yvon Chouinard” as a Patagonia fleece. She also meticulously hand selects the holiday gift wrap each year to make sure it is on theme with the holiday decor and that every package is wrapped in the same paper or is cohesive with said theme. If someone brings a gift over, it is is neatly placed towards the back of the tree or is kindly stored away in a closet until it is time to open. You see if it does not go with the theme, it just does not belong on display as it would throw off “the look.”
Every year, when I was younger, we would travel South to the Bay Area (Northern California) from Oregon for Christmas and my mom literally packed up all the gifts into large black bags and loaded up Santa’s sleigh, or our black Chevrolet Suburban, in preparation for the big day. You see, this is very similar to what I am sure Mrs. Claus is used to doing up in the North Pole prior to Christmas day. The best part is, not only did my mom give wonderful gifts to her immediate family, but to small local charity groups in our community, such as service workers and families in need. I know this because we would deliver these gifts together every year. She always looked out for everyone, made sure they were taken care of and demonstrated the importance of the act of giving.
Aside from all the “fancy” gifts, it’s the way she makes you feel. She makes life fun, meaningful and worthwhile. Even when sometimes it’s hard, she always sees the best. I think the thing about my mom is that she not only sparks the light and joy during the holiday season, but beyond that, all year round, in order to create a brighter future for every life that she has touched. After all, her life motto is “help make a difference in someone else’s life.” Words that she has lived by and continues to uphold to this day, by exercising her charitable contributions to society by giving up her free time to spend time with the elderly, participation in ARF animal rescue foundation, and countless financial donations to charities near and dear to her heart. Moreover, each of these acts are done so with grace and great integrity, without a great deal of recognition or expectation of praise or being noticed. They say, “hustle in silence and let your success make the noise” and I hear bells ringing every time my mom comes around. My mom, the real Mrs. Claus, who jingles all the way!
As we look back over the past year, it is important to reflect with gratitude as even with all of the negative, there were undoubtedly bits and moments that we have shared with our loved ones that have changed or moved us in some way for the better. Right now, it is especially important to honor those who have touched us and made us better people along the way, whom we love very much. So, in this season of warmth, light, love, holiness and merriment, we turn the spotlight on our Moms, people like my mom, who work silently in the dark and let their success do the talking for the betterment of those around them. Here’s to a brighter future, which will undeniably be led by Moms.*
Thank you, Mrs. Claus.
*In partnership with Zulily, click here to celebrate all the wonderful Moms and shared stories of the real Mrs. Claus in other people’s lives. I am also excited to announce that myself and Zulily encourage you to sign this petition through Change.org to give Moms the credit and story they deserve.