Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Claus is Monterosso

My return to Monterosso for Christmas apparently coincided with Santa's as well. Last night, after a long trip home and a longer side trip to Ikea (which is in Genoa and on the way home from the airport. It's a nightmare every time), I was finally alive enough last night to leave my unpacking and cleaning and able to go down to the ANPAS tent in the Old Town for a bit of Christmas cheer. It's hard for it to really "feel" like Christmas for me here. Even in the U.S. it seemed a bit forced, but maybe it's the sunny weather, or my Christmas garland I twisted over our terrace overlooking the sea, but something about the ocean doesn't really yell "It's Christmas time!" to me.
Last night, however, it really started to sink in. The Lion's Club of Chiavari and the folks helping us so, so much in Levanto painstakingly read (with Santa, of course) every letter written by every child in Monterosso. After a Christmas sing-a-long, Santa appeared with a gift for every child in town, and more then that, it was exactly what they'd asked for. Nothing compares to the grins of children who have just received exactly what they wanted from Santa himself, except maybe the hilarity of watching these children then turn into toy obsessed zombies.
Regardless, it was nice to see smiles and hear the incredibly deserved applause of the volunteers and people helping out Monterosso, especially at Christmas. Maybe there's no snow on the ground, and maybe I don't have to angrily scrape off frost from my car this year, but I think the spirit of the season is even stronger here. Certainly Santa thinks so - he's here almost every day.

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