One day when I was about seven years old, my grandmother came home from the store with a gift for me. It was a stuffed Santa Claus but instead of his regular red coat and pants that Santas normally wear, mine was wearing his workshop clothes. A plaid shirt and apron that said “Santa’s workshop” and he had a green satchel over his shoulder. He definitely was not the normal stuff toy that little girls snuggled with as they went to sleep at night, but I loved him more than all of my other stuffed toys combined.

From the first day I had him onward, I could not fall asleep without him. If I could not find him at bedtime, I would search my room and house until he was found. My grandparents would sometimes try to get me to go to sleep if I couldn’t find him but they knew it was pointless and would soon give in and help in the search for him.

Over the years I would tell Santa all my secrets, hold him when I was sad, and of course, tell him what I most wanted for Christmas. Whenever I would hold him I would feel secure and comforted. As time went on and his clothes frayed or he ended up with a hole, I would do my best to patch him up myself. When I would sew him up, I would pretend that I was performing surgery on him and would take care of him until he was healthy again. I felt that each stitch from being repaired was a way that he showed the world how much he was loved by me.

Things went on this way until I was 20 years old. That was when I met my husband and I moved in with him. Santa naturally came with me to live in my new home, but he no longer slept with me at night. Instead, he sat on my rocking chair in my new room. At first it was weird to go to sleep without him in my arms but I was growing up and didn’t need him to feel safe as a slept anymore. However, he was still very special to me so I still wanted him to be close and my husband was ok with that. Then when my daughters were born, Santa went to live in their room. They love that Santa. He watches over them and they whisper their Christmas lists into his ear every year.

Whenever I see him in their room or in their arms I remember how I felt when I would hug him as I fell asleep each night. I am so happy that my children can feel that same comfort and security that I felt growing up and I know that he will always have a place in my family. And sometimes I still sneak in the occasional hug from my Santa and it makes my day a bit better.

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