Christmas really is for kids. For those of the Christian faith the religious significance is the ‘reason for the season’, but you only have to spend Christmas morning with a child to feel the ultimate joy of the holiday.
My eldest granddaughter is 5 years old and she knows the score. For one month each year she gets to partake of all the holiday indulgences reserved for that one special occasion…….Santa’s arrival. Now she understands that Christmas Day celebrates the birth of baby Jesus, she just prefers to focus on all the other hoopla that accompanies the day (probably because it’s more fun) and who am I to burst her bubble? She will see plenty of ‘serious’ occasions in her lifetime besides I have to admit seeing her pure joy of the season brings out the child in me.
In those ‘in between’ years, when my children were grown but before grandchildren, the holidays were wonderful because we could be together to celebrate. We shopped, wrapped gifts, planned succulent menus, sang carols, gathered with friends, and imbibed in much ‘cheer’. It was fun but it wasn’t magical, though we didn’t know it at the time. It was only when children started entering our lives again that we rejuvenated that wonder and awe for the season.
This year, in particular, brought home the magic of the holidays as it reflected in my granddaughters eyes. At five years of age and the eldest of 4 granddaughters she took it upon herself to educate the others. She’d dive under the tree looking for gifts that bore her name or at least the first letter of their names, then proceeded to show them how to shake and inspect the package. She knew where the stash of chocolates was. She lived for reruns of Frosty the Snowman and sang Jingle Bells full throttle. Most importantly she behaved like never before……because the threat of being on Santas ‘naughty list’ meant potential omission from the ‘gift list’, and that was too big a chance to take.
She followed along to Christmas stories read to her with wide-eyed wonder and complete trust that every word was true. She hung her stocking confident it would be filled, and hand picked the cookies left for Santa. Five really is the magic number. They believe, period. Any comments about ‘no such thing as Santa’ are unfathomable and dismissed as lies. (hard to believe in just 3-4 short years that trust will become suspicion) Wouldn’t you like to just capture that age, that moment, that innocence? (for that matter, wouldn’t you just like to be 5 all over again?)
Life will offer her many realizations not all of them pleasant, so for now, for these brief next few years, I will encourage her fantasy about Santa and Frosty, because this may be one of the few times in her life when she will know complete and utter magic…..and seeing the sweet innocent joy, the anticipation and the excitement that surrounds Santa, almost makes me believe all over again. How can anything that makes you feel like that be bad? Here’s to being a kid at Christmas…..no matter how old you are.