To translate her handwriting for you, Hypatia has asked Santa to bring her a Pokeball, some Pokemon cards, a yo-yo, a Fairy, and a Bouncy Ball. Then yesterday she thought of something to add, after she had "sent off" the note (I can't find where I put it in the house! This is not good!), and she decided Santa can "hear" your wishes if you say "Santa, Santa, Santa" three times. So it was "Santa, Santa, Santa, please bring me more barrettes because I've lost too many of mine".
The whole issue of Santa Claus seems to be on people's minds right now. For more, see posts by my good friend and by UUMomma. As a Unitarian Universalist Religious Educator, I know we've always avoided the issue of Santa Claus at church, unless we brush against him when we talk about "St. Nicholas". There is too much difference in personal practice within the families at the church, and we don't want to have some kids who have been told that "Santa is a lie" getting into it with kids whose families do practice the Santa visit. I suppose we could work to frame the discussion and it would be OK - but it doesn't seem like the conversation is that important. The conversation about God, yes that one we need to have over and over in church. (And it's very similar to the conversation about Santa! Some kids will be like "my parents say there is no God." and then another will say "yes there is. If there's no God, where did trees come from?" or something like that and then the conversation is off and running!). The stories of the season (Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, St. Lucia even) need to be told over and over again. But Santa Claus exists somewhere else - somewhere more personal to each family. And, of course, I don't have to worry that they won't hear about him in the general culture. There is no gap in the story tradition that I need to fill in.
For myself, I see no harm in Santa Claus, but I also like to keep him low-key. No visits to get pictures taken with him, no big gifts delivered. This is the first year the kids have written to him, and they got the idea to do that from a friend. We leave out cookies and milk for him, and the stockings are full in the morning. Carbon "knows", or at least he knew two years ago when he asked us point blank, but he acts now as though he completely believes in it. He's either a pretty good actor or he has chosen to believe again. Hypatia is a bit doubtful this year, but she's so comfortable with the notion that something "maybe" exists (I'm such a proud agnostic mama!) that she is fine speculating without having to know for sure.
And I'm very happy that the expectations are pretty low-key, because it will be an easy joy to fill those stockings with Pokemon cards, a yo-yo, and a bouncy ball. And more barrettes, of course. For those of you wondering, Carbon also wrote and he asked for: Pokemon cards, Bakugans, Legos, and video games.