Yearly Archives:2016

Yes, Christopher, There is a Santa Claus

santa-cookie“Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.” 

Frank P. Church, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”

By Mary Grace Musuneggi

With the onset of the holiday season, I find it easy to recall the days of my childhood and the memories of my Christmases past. When I was young, on random Saturdays, my mother and I would ride the streetcar to downtown and get off under the Kaufmann’s clock. I still remember the department store Christmas windows as we walked along Smithfield Street. I remember the bells of the Salvation Army Santa. I remember the Christmas music that filled the air.

The wonderful Christmas memories and traditions of my past are probably the reason that the holiday season is still as exciting to me as it was when I was a child. I have never let go of the joy and delight that the season can bring. I have never forgotten the spirit of the holiday. And I have never stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Almost 30 years ago, when my son, Christopher, was 10 years old, a group of his friends had 2013 gathered in our family roomchris 10 to play video games. The boys were talking about the hottest new game on the street, and as I passed by, Christopher called out to me, “Mom, can you buy this new game for me for Christmas?” I responded with, “We will see. Maybe Santa Claus will bring it for you.” With that the other boys began to laugh as they chided him with “You mean you still believe in Santa Claus?” And in a voice barely above a whisper, hoping I would not hear, Christopher replied, “No, I don’t; but my Mom still does.”

And I do. I believe in the Santa Claus that helps us find the time that we never seem to have the rest of the year. The time to shop and decorate and bake. I believe in the Santa that helps us find the extra energy needed to write out the cards, to wrap the gifts, to attend the parties, to cook the dinner. I still believe in the Santa Claus who, in years where money was tight, somehow made it appear to help to pay for the gifts and the tree and the new outfits. And I believe in the Santa Claus that brings family and friends closer and makes us wish for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All, no matter what the state of the world might be.

Although for some the holiday season may seem lackluster with the state of the economy, the endless negative news from the media, issues facing the country or because of personal or family concerns, more than ever, once again, I believe that Santa will appear bringing the blessings of faith and hope; the kindness of strangers and the love of family and friends; the miracle of sharing; the knowledge that all we have is all we need; and the realization that we still live in the greatest country in the world.

And when years have gone by these blessings will still exist, and hopefully our current struggles will be lost memories and Santa will continue to be part of Christmas.

We at Single Steps Strategies wish this year that the miracle of Santa will be part of this holiday season for everyone we know.

Can you remember…

tft-2016When you were a child, what was your favorite toy? Maybe it was a stuffed animal, a game, or a bike. Maybe it was as simple as a baseball glove or as complicated as a model plane you built from a kit.

Whatever it was, it was special…and you remember it to this day.

Every child deserves that experience. This is why we are so proud to be part of The United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. Can you believe we’re celebrating a decade of service with Toys for Tots? In that time, we’ve developed a fantastic partnership with South Fayette High School and collected nearly 17,000 toys.

To commemorate our 10th anniversary with Toys for Tots, we’ve set a lofty goal: 20,000 total toys donated. That 20,000 toys translates to countless children and families waking up to a very special Christmas morning.

Our lobby is already starting to fill with toys and bikes, and we will continue collecting until December 8th. Toys can be dropped off any time during office hours, and we hope you’ll also join us for our annual Toys for Tots Holiday Donation party on Thursday, December 8th from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

South Fayette Student Government members will be here that evening to “stuff a bus” with all of the toys and deliver them to the Toys for Tots donation center.

From all of us at Single Steps Strategies, and on behalf of all the children who will receive these toys, thank you!

Holiday Bother or Bliss? You Decide.

MGM smaller fileBy Mary Grace Musuneggi

A few days ago a client of mine wished me “Happy Holidays” as she left the office. “Oh, no,” I shuddered. “It can’t be that time of year again!”

Although I love the holidays, I know the stress they can sometimes bring. So much to do. So many deadlines. The decorating, the shopping, the cooking. The company, the parties, the family gatherings. Some of us approach these with excitement…and some of us with dread.

I don’t so much mind most of this, and in fact I delight in the sounds and sights of the seasons; but point me in the direction of the mall or Wal-mart and I break out in a cold sweat. For me, that is stress at the highest level.

No matter what part of the holidays stresses you out, there are truly only two ways to approach the coming days, just as there are only two ways to approach most things in life: You can be a Winnie the Pooh, or you can be an Eeyore.

Winnie the Pooh is one of my heroes. Pooh knows what will make him happy, and he pursues it with passion. When the honey pot awaits, he is not diverted by anything that gets in his way—not bees, not blustery days, not getting stuck in a tree. He is persistent, single-minded, and never has a harsh word to say. Every day for him is delightful. All of his adventures are fun.

On the other hand, Eeyore spends his days worrying, complaining, doubting, and insisting that nothing good will ever happen. He goes through each day planning for everything to go wrong.

At the end of the day, Pooh is reveling in a pot of honey, while Eeyore has had the kind of day he had expected, too.

As we approach the holidays, as we approach life, who will you be: Pooh or Eeyore? The results of your choice will be a wonderful holiday season…a wonderful life…

…or not.