The magic of Christmas is always alive for those who believe. While this may be my life’s eternal motto, I’m certainly not a crazy Christmas lady.
I do know that for every Christmas light lit before Thanksgiving, one of Santa’s baby reindeer die, so I would never take that risk. But once the official Christmas season begins, I am all in, dragging my entire family along with me. Santa and all of his magic are in full effect.
Before you roll your eyes right out of your head, hear me out.
I heard an interview recently in which someone described Christmas as a dream, the one time in our lives when we suspend reality in exchange for fantasy. It’s the one day of the year when dreams come true, the one time when magic is real. Really real, not just sleight of hand.
Christmas is also the one time of year I have the opportunity to make this magic happen for my family.
I am 48 years old and while I acknowledge how beautiful and wonderful life can be, I also know it can be cold, hard, and relentless. There are times when people do not care. There are times when your dreams truly don’t matter. There are times in adult life when you are alone, or worse, lonely.
The realization that life isn’t fair, or necessarily always pleasant, comes quickly. Far too quickly in my opinion. We spend the vast majority of our adult lives being, well, adults—which is exactly why I choose to give my children the chance to experience pure, dream-making magic. While it’s not always easy, for the short time they are children, I feel they deserve that magic.
I get it, Santa is hard. But for me, hard isn’t a reason to abandon ship.
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One year we pulled off a live animal Christmas and it took more logistical arrangements than had been required when I gave birth to my second child. It was hands-down the most stressful Christmas Eve on record; my husband and I fought and bickered while trying to establish the best plan for Santa’s gifts to spend the night. I forgot to remove several labels and tags, things were out of place. Clearly a rookie mistake induced by a tricky combination of stress and excitement.
But boy, was I excited. I was so incredibly excited. I knew how much they wanted this. Never for a second did it cross my mind that Santa wouldn’t make their Christmas dreams come true. No matter how many favors I had to call in, or arrangements I had to make with neighbors, our children’s dreams were coming true.
On that moderately cool, rather balmy southern morning, when my kids saw their dreams at the foot of the Christmas tree, adorned with a freezing cold letter from the North Pole, every minute, every argument, every request, every switch, every exchange was totally and completely worth it.
I watched magic happen right before my eyes and it was totally and completely worth it.
I admit I’m selfish. I love every minute of watching the holidays through the eyes of my children. In some ways, it’s even better now than when I was a kid. I wish this time of our life would last forever. The magic of Christmas experienced by my children directly improves my holidays too. Their excitement, joy, and awe make it all exponentially better.
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While I may be selfish, I’m also a realist. I remember vividly when I found out my reality wasn’t exactly reality. It was a pretty difficult blow and I remember being very sad and feeling a sense of loss. Over time, however, I was able to channel the energy and excitement of receiving into the joy of giving.
I am prepared for my children to experience this loss. I am aware of the sadness that will likely affect them. Hopefully, of course, not anytime soon. Truthfully, I’m more prepared for the sex talk than the Santa talk. However, I know no greater way to see the holidays than through the lens of giving. I believe, as I did, their excitement and energy will grow into what the true spirit of the holidays is all about in many ways because of having experienced the magic and joy of receiving for all of these years.
If, when it’s all said and done, my children have joyful and happy memories, places in their minds and hearts that they can return to when the world is not such a friendly place, then in the truest sense of the season, I have given them a great gift. So, for now, the magic remains real and I am forever joyful and grateful for it.
Within my joy, though, there is a brief moment of sadness that tugs at my heart because I know this time is fleeting. It is only for a very short time that we can capture this excitement. Letters to Santa and personalized cards for our elf named Cookie will make way for doubt and questions.
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As with anything in life, there is change. I know things will change all too soon. I am ready though. I am ready to block doubt and reassure fears by holding on to my life’s motto. I’m ready to remind my children that as long as you hold on to the spirit in your heart, the magic will always follow.
Originally published on the author’s blog