It’s that time of year again…
To be honest, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what this time of year means to me. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, and there are so many traditions I’ve clung to from my childhood:
-Hand sewn stockings for my three girls, just like my mom did for me, and her mother did for her, and so on as far back as anyone can remember.
-Making my grandma’s cheeseballs for my girls like she used to make for all her kids and grandkids at Christmas time.
-Watching “A Christmas Story” all day Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!
-Going out to look at Christmas lights before bed on Christmas Eve.
This year, I stopped to consider why this day means so much to me, and why I go out of my way to keep up the traditions I love. The answer is simple.
It’s the MAGIC…
My dad always went out of his way to make Christmas a magical day. I remember as a child hearing Santa’s boots on the dining room tile; his jingle bells rolling off the roof; his bag landing on the living room floor. Every Christmas Eve and Christmas morning was a time of magic and awe. I treasure those memories and draw upon the joy they brought me whenever I feel down.
Now as a mom to my own children, I seek out ways to keep the magic alive for my three girls. My children are an oddity among their peers because they are still believers even though they are teenagers. They still get up every morning in December to seek out their Elf on the Shelf. They write letters to Santa and visit him. This Christmas Eve they will set out cookies and milk for the man with the bag and then anxiously await Christmas morning to see what was left in their stocking.
It’s all about the magic…
Now, hear me out… I’m 99% sure my girls know what’s up. I hear it in the inflection of their voice when they make comments like, “I wonder where Oscar will be hiding in the morning?” or “I sure hope Santa remembers I don’t like peppermint.” They know. Just like I knew my dad was responsible for the magic of Christmas by the time I was my girls’ ages, I know my girls have sorted out that I am the source of theirs.
So why do I keep up the show? Why not come clean and finally get the credit I deserve for the gifts under the tree each year?
Because of the magic…
My girls asked me several years ago about Santa. Just like every other kid eventually does, they asked me if he was real.
I didn’t give one. Instead, I looked my girls in the eyes and asked them, “Do you enjoy the magic of Christmas?”
“Yes!” They replied wholeheartedly.
“Then keep enjoying the magic,” I said. “Because one day you will be adults, and once you become an adult, the magic dwindles away. So enjoy it. Embrace it. You’re only a child for a short time. You have plenty of time to be an adult later.”
They’ve never asked again, because they love the magic.
By the time I was twelve, I knew my dad made Christmas magical. He was the man behind the red suit and the beard. But I never questioned him because to say it out loud was to steal away the magic of the season. I’ve never been upset that he didn’t tell me “the truth”. I love him all the more for keeping the magic alive for me for as long as possible. I honestly believe one of the reasons I love to write stories is because of the magic my dad created for me when I was young.
My heart’s desire is to pass this gift along to my girls. I hope to keep the magic alive for them as long as possible; or for as long as they need/want it. There will be plenty of reality waiting for them when they enter the world of adulthood. For now, I will continue to do all I can to give them the magic and awe that comes with childhood.