Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.
It’s a little known fact that Saint Nikolas picks one sweet sloth to be his co-pilot on Christmas Eve.
This tradition started hundreds of years ago, when old Saint Nick became enamored with sloths. He’d made a brief stop in Costa Rica, letting the reindeer splash in the Atlantic for a mid-flight treat. Nick sat beneath a tree, gazing out at the stars, his boots on the sand next to him, his toes burrowing into the soft warm ground. (It’s amazing how in the moonlight, snow and sand can look so similar yet be so very different.)
Whilst letting his gaze drift across the skies, old Nick felt someone, or something, playing with his thick white hair. Assuming a small child had sneaked out of his Christmas Eve bed, Nick tilted his head to get a peek at his admirer.
Imagine his surprise when his nose touched the nose of a small, brazen three-toed sloth. The sloth smiled sleepily. Then Saint Nick smiled sleepily. (How could you not?) And they both resumed their stargazing.
When the reindeer finished their splashing and were ready to continue their mission, the sloth accompanied Nikolas back into the sleigh. He donned a red velvet cap and wrapped himself in the warmest blankets in the sleigh and smiled from ear to ear for the entire flight.
And thus began a tradition not known to most of the world. Every year, Saint Nikolas lets a sloth join the sleigh ride and deliver presents to all the little boys and girls. Inevitably, the sweet and lucky sloth will climb a tree (or two or three) to gaze up at the stars.
Take a moment this Christmas Eve – no matter your religious proclivity, preference or tradition – and tilt your chin to the sky. Gaze up at the stars and let the wonder of a man in a sleigh with a sloth by his side sink in. Smile sleepily like a sloth, close your eyes, and make a wish.
Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.