I bet Christmas is a strange time for Katniss.
On one hand, my wife LOVES the holiday season. She decorates the house, sings Christmas songs and watches Christmas movies.
I, however, have grown to dislike this time of year. Christmas and its constant focus on material things—gifts—only makes me think about people, especially kids, who won’t get gifts or people who don’t have anyone to spend the holidays with. Now that I have a dog, the season makes me think of all the lonely pets in the world, too.
Aren’t I a ray of sunshine?
Another thing that irks me is that we seem each year to get further and further from the meaning of the holidays—I’ve always thought it’s supposed to be a time to reflect on the year that’s about to end and a time to consider our own faith and character. Whatever your faith/religion—or lack thereof—may be, I think the holidays are a time to renew our faith or at least respect the fact that other people have traditions or rites in which they believe. I think it’s especially important in this political climate to use this time of year—or what we should be doing every day of the year—to embrace, not exclude, those of varying religious beliefs, or no beliefs, for that matter.
I do try to get into the spirit of the season by doing things such as hanging Batman ornaments on the tree or requesting people make charitable donations instead of buying me presents. But guilt still seems to follow me: What did I do to deserve a gift? Am I worthy of being blessed with the things I am thankful for? What’s worse to me is that many people do seem use the season as a time to be kind and help the less fortunate—so where’s that attitude the rest of the year?
I can’t really explain any of that to a dog, though, especially one who loves all things and all people. Unless you’re a squirrel. Katniss has a thing against squirrels.
As a dog who loves everything and everyone, I would imagine my Katniss loves Christmas. She loves gifts, too—what dog doesn’t? With that said, Katniss and I sat down and made a wish list*, just like I used to do when I was a kid, and I would like to share it with you.
Dear Santa Claws¹:
My name is Katniss, and I am almost 2 years old. I have been a very good girl this year (aside from stealing socks, trying to eat squirrels and getting loose sometimes—which is NOT MY FAULT BECAUSE DADDY LEAVES THE GATE OPEN). I like to snuggle with my mom and dad, chase squirrels and bark. I also like to play, give kisses, and have I mentioned I like to bark? Anyway, there are a few things I would like you to bring me for being such a good dog.
Bones! I like the bones my mommy and daddy give me to chew on, so more, please! I also like Blue Buffalo treats. And more cuddle time with mom and dad! And more walks with mommy and daddy!
Also, please visit the doggies that don’t have homes yet and tell them they are all special and will be loved soon by their own human. I was one of those dogs once.
Your pal, Katniss P.
P.S.: Don’t be stingy with the bones.
As you can see, Katniss certainly has gifts she wants but is also concerned about her fellow dog. Maybe she understands the holidays better than I thought?
*The wish list is transcribed from a conversation Katniss and I had. She tried to write it herself, but not having an opposable thumb made it too difficult to hold a crayon.
¹Oh, you’ve never heard of Santa Claws? Santa Claws, not to be confused with Santa Claus, brings all the good pets of the world presents.
Top photo: I’m surprised Katniss hasn’t tried to swipe one of our stockings; she loves to take socks and make us chase her around the house to get them back.