The Christmas Trilogy Part III: The Return of Christmas Spirit

Editor in chief Nick Harvey ditches idea of visiting Santa and becomes St. Nick himself


Ari Harvey

St. Nicholas Harvey taps into the ultimate Christmas spirit by giving gifts to those in need this holiday season.

Nicholas Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

If you are a long-time reader of The Californian, you undoubtedly remember the pinnacle of the Features section that has been released over the past several years. 

My annual tribute to Santa has stood among the great Christmas traditions, only bested by City Hall’s department-themed trees and Cal High’s pitiful attempt to patch the wound of stressful academic culture with the Band-Aid of brunchtime hot chocolate each and every Dead Week. 

As a sophomore, I wrote an account of my harrowing visit to Santa as a 15-year-old. And last year, I visited again and asked why Santa couldn’t give us the COVID-19 vaccine for Christmas.

Now, I face the dilemma of satisfactorily ending the Santa trilogy. At first I took the comedic approach and tried to find an opportunity to be one of Santa’s elves. Unfortunately, Santa was unwilling to let the muckraker who exposed his less-than-ideal workplace practices join him as a servant. Instead of an elf, I became a clown.

I wanted to embody the Christmas spirit, and to me nothing yells “CHRISTMAS!” more than charity and compassion (except for baking my great-grandma’s pizzelle recipe, but you’ll have to pry that from my cold dead Italian hands). 

Luckily, I discovered the United States Postal Service allows the public to adopt a letter to Santa and grant a child or family’s wish. What else could embody Christmas more than literally being Santa? My dream of living up to my namesake was fulfilled.

No longer did I need to visit St. Nick. I was St. Nick. Years of elementary schoolers calling me “Nickelodeon” had been rectified by the opportunity to be my saintly namesake.

Going to the USPS website, I saw pages and pages of children who wanted iPhone 12s and PS5s. I finally found a worthy request that was actually in my price range, from a family in Texas. I received two letters, one from a girl and one from one of three boys.

I was especially touched by the fact that the boy mentioned the struggles his single mom faced in raising four kids, one of whom has a disability. He noted that his mom didn’t have any way to get around, and he wished for a car. Although that wasn’t within my ability, I made sure to fit the request as well as I could.

My heartstrings had truly been pulled. I met their requests, giving the girl a pair of roller skates and the boy a pair of blue jeans and a jacket.

Finally, I tackled the car problem. Although St. Nick couldn’t afford to buy an entire car this year, with the pandemic taking a toll on my Arctic workshop, I instead provided some cash to contribute toward the purchase of a vehicle.

This may sound cliché, but being able to play the role of Santa helped me understand the true meaning of Christmas. No gift I receive this holiday season can remotely compare to the joy of helping others. Next year, you too can make a family’s Christmas dreams come true by adopting a letter to Santa through USPS.

Even if you haven’t participated in the adopt-a-letter program, you can still help your community by doing a myriad of good deeds, from picking up trash to donating to food banks, from planting native plants in your backyard to donating to a reputable charity. Instead of getting, let’s focus on giving.

Merry Christmas.