I love Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday of the year. When I was a child, Christmas was the only time we got new toys, so our Christmas tree was stuffed with everything a child could dream of. When my children were born, I tried to recreate this intensity, while at the same time omitting the idea that a magical man in a red suit left free toys in our house. Santa Claus was a story I told my children, not a reality. That was, until the Christmas they were three years old.
We always told Kiera and Conner that Santa was a story and the presents under the tree and in their stockings were from Mom and Dad, but the year they were three, television watching and family asking, led them to believe that Santa Claus was real. That Christmas morning, regardless what their honest parents had told them, when they saw gifts under the tree, they were sure Santa had brought them. Who else could it be? Even the characters on Sesame Street talked about Santa Claus!
This lasted until the following Christmas when Conner, the insightful thinker, on Christmas Eve, all tucked in bed, began scaring himself with the thought that if Santa could get into the house, then burglars could get into the house! He was terrified. Again, I insisted that Santa wasn’t real, it was just a story, yet he insisted on sleeping with the dog at the foot of his bed to warn him of intruders. That was the last Christmas Santa was real to my children.
Now that Kiera and Conner are 12 and well aware that Santa isn’t real, I’ve asked them if Christmas would have been better if they had believed in Santa. They insist not, and they talk about the fact that I have never lied to them, I omit things, but I don’t lie, and honesty is important in our family. Yes, you guessed it, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were all stories too.
You see, Christmas is delightful to me, I love the surprise, the love, the lights, the joy. And that, I think is why my children like Christmas, it’s because it’s special to us. I believe that our family holiday traditions, whatever they are, make Christmas special. If Santa visits your house, wonderful! If cookie and candy making is your thing, great! If volunteering at a soup kitchen is your family activity, fantastic! It’s the time we spend together and the moments of laughter and love that make the holidays special. And this is true no matter what holiday you celebrate.
So, to quote the Grinch, one of my favorite holiday traditions:
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”