When I was a kid, I always had this dream of being Santa one day. Here’s this overweight guy with a smile who sleeps all year, then shows up one night to give gifts to everyone in the world. . . . What a fun job that would be! I also have all these great memories of traditions that our family created around this invisible character called Santa. For example, the reindeer food we tossed out on Christmas Eve along the path to the house and chimney. Then you have the cookies and milk, and of course we can not forget the Dear Santa letter.
As I grew up, I slowly came to the realization that I couldn’t become Santa because, well … I had to work a real job all year long. Still, I haven’t let go of my fond attachment to the memory of Santa Claus and everything he stands for like fun, happiness, unconditional love, and forgiveness. I was never perfectly on the good list, and who was anyway, right? Good or bad list, Santa always seemed to know what I was thinking!
As a working adult I have been thoughtful this year about what Santa means for me and others at the office. Let’s imagine together a working Santa, in our offices. What would that be like?
It’s Not about the List!
There’s the naughty list, and the nice list. For example, there are the people at work I like and the ones that I don't, the ones that are easy to work with and those who aren’t. What about my boss? What about the person who intentionally takes my parking spot every day? Leaves their mug in the microwave and forgets about it, right?
Santa really doesn’t care which list you’re on. I was never particularly well-behaved as a young boy (I often ate the chocolate from under the tree before Christmas, and in secret) but I still had many Santa moments on Christmas mornings past. I always told myself that Santa only cared about the few minutes before he actually showed up!
At work, anyone of us can be on either list at any time, based on who you ask and what day it is. Santa seems to only be present in the moment. I would say if Santa showed at work, he would give everyone a break during the holiday, and focus on celebrating them regardless of which list the rest of us think they are on. Maybe my dream of being Santa could play out at work if I could have that same attitude for a day, for the season, or maybe even for the whole year.
Goodwill Toward All!
The message of goodwill to all is especially refreshing in the office where so much relies on achievements, playing office politics, and certain expected behaviors. While a reward for being “good” is a good thing, receiving “goodwill” while being who you are is even sweeter.
I like to believe that we all deserve a Santa moment this season, and that we can all give and receive Santa moments. Goodwill during the Christmas season is about the power of giving love, words of affirmation, and small gestures of recognition to those around us.
I like daydreaming about the arrival of Santa in the workplace, and the feeling of energy and excitement at work. If we believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, which supersedes his supernatural gift-giving powers, then we could land on a message that allows us to put into action the Spirit of Santa Claus at work, in the giving and receiving of emotional gifts. If we do that, we can all have the Santa experience. And each one of us is able to do that! This year, let’s agree to ditch the naughty-and-nice lists we’ve held onto and intentionally express goodwill to everyone we work with.
Happy “Santa” moments!