Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

You haven't asked, but I'd like to tell you something anyway, because you've been hearing a lot of talk about how tough times are and how this is going to be the worst Christmas ever.

I want to tell you about a little girl you should know.  She is only 4 years old, but she has eyes as blue as the ocean, and when she sings it's with a little lisp that makes every word sound like a blown kiss.

She's still learning how to brush her teeth on her own, and she struggles with getting the knots out of her hair, but you know all these things Santa.  At least, she says you do.

She likes puppies, and stuffed animals, and walking around in her mother's high heels.  But most of Santa, she likes you.

Everywhere she looks you're there.  She has seen you in a dozen different places and in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  But she is not suspicious about that, no sir.  She says you're magical and that pretty much explains everything.

To her, Christmas is all about hanging ornaments on trees, the colored lights, getting to dance in recitals, and the strange packages she gets to shake when no one else is looking.

She has been really good this year, and she'll tell you her old sister has been good too.

She doesn't want you to forget Big Sis, and she doesn't want you to forget all those other children she heard about this year - the ones who've lost their homes.  The ones whose mommies and daddies no longer have jobs.

There are only a few hours left, but to her it will seem like a few years.

She hasn't the slightest doubt that you will come.  She knows just what cookies she's going to leave you, and your milk will be in your favorite glass.

You see Santa, times may be hard, but there's still a little girl who believes in you. In fact, there are millions and millions of them, and I have a hunch there always will be.

Your Friend,