Whether kids celebrate Christmas; Solstice; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa, Ramadan or just the beauty of living – they all can learn the joy of giving.
This audio-book was inspired by my own father who in the 1940’s got a job as a Santa Claus at Macy’s Department Store in New Rochelle, New York. He was a young Jewish Man, but a spirit came over him that transcends all religions. After work he roamed the streets as Santa. Somehow he was guided to play “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” on an accordion, despite the fact that he had never played a musical instrument before.
He brought joy to children and ministered to the sick. He wandered into the home of a paraplegic Irishman, eliciting warmth in his eyes and gratitude from the family who patted him on the back and offered a shot of whisky. “Thanks, but I don’t drink,” Santa replied. Their faces were puzzled: this couldn’t be one of their friends. Who was this mysterious soul behind the long white beard?
All year around my dad carried “Little Turtles of Happiness” in his pocket and gave them away. He’d draw their little rubber heads and legs into their shells, and talk about how sometimes we want to just hide in our shells, away from the pain of the world. Then he'd nuzzle two turtles together, and out would pop their little heads! “The power of love brings us out of our shells,” he would explain.
My father’s name was Leon, which is NOEL spelled backwards. When I was 4 years old, my mom passed away from cancer. My dad was so heartbroken that he lost the Santa spirit. Years later, after I graduated from College I bought him a Santa suit for his birthday. As he opened the surprise gift, he gasped: “My clothes. I haven’t worn my clothes in 30 years!” He began doing Santa again to the delight of children at the Friends Meeting.
I’ve carried on the tradition, as has my brother. I’ve given out thousands of toys to poor kids in Mexico. Please join me! What could be more fun than giving gifts around the world?