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Sarah Tomlinson


Dear Santa,

I know I haven’t written to you in a few years (okay, so like thirty), and it probably seems a little fair weather of me to turn up now, but I only want two things this holiday season, both kind of hard to ask for, so there’s nowhere else to go.

May I please have some of those Christian Dior temporary tattoos made of real gold? I know this is an awful, bougie request. Especially given all of the poor kids in the world that can’t afford real tattoos. And the fact that I could, in fact, get a real tattoo that I would have for the rest of my life for about the same cost as this ephemeral gilded decadence. But they are so pretty and glam, and I just know they would make me happy in that pure, sparkly little girl way I can sometimes still achieve, like when I used to come home from school, and my mom had baked fresh granola, and the whole house smelled like cinnamon and love, and it made the milk a little warm when I ate some right out of the oven, and it tasted just like heaven.

The second request is a little trickier, but I’m going to throw it at you anyway. I’ve still got faith, even though you didn’t come through with a Cabbage Patch Doll. Remember in 2011 when everything I really wanted was about to come true, and then it really didn’t. And people I love started getting sick, and I realized this was my entrĂ©e into adulthood-not anything big and ceremonial with framed photos I would have forever, but a lot of small, infinitely hard life changes that would require me to be more patient and steady and kind than I’d ever been called upon to be, and this after twenty years of nearly total adolescent freedom?

And remember how I started doing that thing before I fell asleep where I mentally touched everyone I love, beginning with my family, and moving out through my closest friends, my new friends, my mentors and teachers and yoga instructors, to anyone who’d done something particularly nice for me that day, like those guys at the liquor store who let me cut in line to buy those heavy bags of ice and even lifted them out of my arms and set them down on the counter for me?

Uh, no, this is not praying. I was raised by hippies. I’m a liberal. Anyhow, I’m not going to get into a fight with you so close to your big day. The point is that after I went through my list, I wished for all of them one single second when they didn’t feel any pain or fear or sadness. It made me happy, just to think it might be possible, this one golden second of peace. Then, one night, I realized my family members and friends are among the most privileged people in the world. So I thought–why not?–and I extended it to everyone, especially the women and children who get particularly brutalized, and the many, many people who have never known anything but war, and I wished for all of them, one single second when they felt no pain or fear or sadness. And then I wished John Lennon was still around, because I figured he’d probably know how to help you make it happen–you guys are both more than a little magic. After all, it was at Christmas 1969 that he and Yoko put up their peace billboards. I’m not telling you how to do your job. I’m just saying that it’s all I really want this year (except, of course, for that one item noted above), and I think a lot of other people want it too, even if they’ve never stopped to think about it.
Thanks so much. Yes, I know the drill–I’m going to clean my room right now.

Much love, Sarah