My nine year-old niece asked me this earlier today when I was telling her that I was at the mall to buy my brother a gift for his Christmas stocking.
"Wait a minute!" she declared after half a beat. "Why are YOU filling Uncle TK's stocking. Doesn't Santa do that?"
"Santa only fills the stockings of kids. He has his hands pretty full taking care of children all over the world, so at a certain age he stops giving people presents."
"How old were you when Santa stopped bringing you presents?" she asked in a quiet voice.
"Twenty-one or twenty-two," I swiftly replied. (I hope Santa reads this so he knows how long he is on the hook with the present giving.)
"Do you ever miss Santa?" she asked, in an even quieter voice.
Of course I miss Santa! I'm also grateful that the spirit of gratitude, surprise, and fulfillment can be experienced through buying gifts for my family, populating my online registry with things I've found online, and quietly contemplating Christmas lights that bathe the front of my home, the homes of neighbors, town centers, and many businesses.
Where do you find the spirit of the season - whether you observe Christmas or Hanukkah, Kwaanza, Solstice, or New Year?