It never ceases to amaze me how fast some of the months seem to fly by. I suppose that’s what happens when you are busy with so many things. Before you know it you’re looking up to check the date and it’s already December. Amazing. As always with this month ahead of us there will be many wonderful things going on.
Decorating the house. Christmas shopping, if you haven’t already gotten that done. Watching the trees being lit in the town squares. Taking pictures with Santa. Meeting up with family members. Caroling. Baking dozens upon dozens of cookies and treats. I mean this time of year is just full of festivities and traditions.
Every year that my husband and I have been together we have tried to make the holiday season a perfect one. Something our daughter will always remember. We tell stories of when we were little and all the awesome things we got to do, like, at midnight, when I was little, on Christmas eve, we would all get to open one gift. My parents had to choose and it was usually pajamas, or some type of clothing, maybe a book. Nothing “cool” or anything. The good stuff was left for morning. But it was something we did every year. Or how my sister has always loved baking so I can remember being really little and helping her in the kitchen. When she got older and had kids of her own it was even more fun because I got to show them a thing or two.
One particular memory that really stands out for me is the very first time my brother and I received a letter from Santa himself. We’d written him countless letters, which ended up who knows where, and yet we never heard anything back. Then one year, I must have been about seven, my brother was eight, my parents had gotten the mail that day and to their surprise there were two shiny, beautiful letters, one for each of us, from the big guy himself.
Everything seemed so official. The address looked real. The envelopes were adorned with candy cane stickers and fancy script. It was post marked from the North pole, so I thought. As a child this seemed legitimate. I remember ripping the envelope open to see a note written out to me saying that Santa had seen me being a good girl. That he’d gotten all my letters, but was of course so busy he couldn’t write back, he took the time that year though to let me know I would indeed be getting what I had asked for. (I can’t even remember what it was truthfully) There was more but I can’t remember it all. What I do remember is the feeling. The overwhelming joy that spread all over me like sunbeams. I was ecstatic. I jumped and screamed and ran to my sister, who had a grin from ear to ear on her face, she rejoiced with me at the pure awesomeness.
Later I came to find out that my sister was the one who had gone through all that trouble. She wrote the letters, decorated them ever so carefully and sent them back to the house. I smile when I think about it. It’s probably one of my most favorite childhood memories in terms of Christmas time.
So when it came time for my husband and I to create this whole Santa Claus world for my daughter you can bet that we did. Every year since she was old enough to understand we have gone above and beyond for her to believe in Santa. Why? Because I remember the magical feeling, I remember what believing felt like.
And even when I figured out that there was no real Santa flying around dropping off gifts, that it was actually my sister who orchestrated all those little magical moments. I still loved it. I appreciated it. I enjoyed every moment.
I hope that when my daughter figures out that Santa is really just a feeling, a good attitude, a loving heart, that she’ll understand why we keep these traditions going. That she’ll appreciate all that we did to ensure that she had amazing memories. Some people snicker at the idea of lying to our children about a fat man in a suit..
Why? It’s okay to believe in things we can not see. Or things that used to be. It’s okay to have faith. To believe in hope and life and good things. That’s what I am teaching her through all of this.
More importantly I am teaching her that this time of year is more about the memories and fun times, more about having a giving heart and less about the presents.
I hope that whatever traditions you carry out in your family, or even if you don’t have any right now, that you have a beautiful holiday season.