Communication is a gift that we share with each other. Spoken words are helpful, but are certainly not required. Signing works well too. Furthermore, a look, and there are an infinite number of looks, convey both simple and complex messages. A smile, a cry, a cough, a yawn, an exhale, a gasp, a gesture, a laugh, a whimper, a sniffle, and even a snore all speak loudly too. We just need to listen with our ears, our eyes and our hearts. There is no one better at doing just that than Santa.

The other day, I saw a picture of myself sitting on Santa’s lap. I was three and I was bawling. I don’t remember the experience, but the picture told me all I needed to know. I wasn’t looking at the camera and I surely wasn’t looking at old St. Nick. I was looking at my mother and I was crying uncontrollably. I was probably crying so hard that I wasn’t making any sounds at all except for intermittent gasps of air. Regardless, I was speaking volumes to my mom without saying a single word.  I was clearly saying that I wanted to get off of this strange man’s lap more than I wanted a doll, a doll house and doll clothes. I’m sure that Santa tried to comfort me, but it was no use. Chances are, the photographer dressed in an elf suit looked at me, looked at my mom, looked at the long line of kids not crying, pushed the button to take the Polaroid and yelled “Next”.

I wasn’t able to compose myself to utter a single word to Santa. After that debacle, while Santa’s helper shook the polaroid and put the image in a card, I told my mom that I blew it. Then I told her all the things that I was going to tell Santa. Yet despite that breakdown in communication between me and Santa, he brought me everything that I wanted plus a few surprises. Santa is pretty amazing.

Recently a young British girl, who struggles with speech, went to visit Santa. The perceptive Santa realized quickly that spoken words would not be effective, so he started signing. It will touch your heart.

Here is another story about a signing Santa in West Virginia who listens with his eyes and heart.

The Kidmunication Point

Communication is a precious and priceless gift. And the beauty of this gift is that no batteries are required and neither are words. During the holidays this year, don’t take communication for granted. Turn off the TV and listen to your children. Listen, to them play with their noisy toys. Watch the joy on their faces. Revel in the sound laughter. Focus on the conversation at the dinner table and not just the words, but all of the non-verbal cues too. And unwrap stories of your memorable Christmas experiences and share them. Research shows that the more you talk to your kids the better they will be at communicating when they are older. In other words, communicating with your children is the gift that keeps giving.