There are so few years…..

There are so few years where the magic of Christmas is real.  I mean really real.  I mean complete buy-in, no-questions-asked, not-a-doubt-in-their-minds kind of real.  My kids are both inside that sweet spot now.  Ages seven and four, they’re both old enough to remember Christmas memories from years gone past and yet still young enough to fully believe in Santa and elves and flying reindeer.

We’re currently in rural Alberta, visiting my parents and spending Christmas in the home I grew up in.  The magic surrounds us.  On Christmas morning, the kids bounded up the stairs to find their gifts from Santa waiting by the tree.  “Look Mom, he ate the cookies,” they cried, “he drank the milk!”

“I saw some footprints across the lawn,” my dad told them, “I think it might be from the reindeer.”

“Really, Grandpa?” They asked.  “Where, show us!”  They looked out the front window and bought into his story without an ounce of doubt.  Pyjama-clad kids, touting bedhead and sleepy eyes, peered into the darkness for a tiny glimpse at the aftermath of St. Nick’s busy Christmas Eve.  Of course I know that the true meaning of Christmas is not about Santa Claus, but I also know that nothing compares to the big guy’s fascination.

I don’t think we have many more Christmases left where both kids are fully committed to the magic. In fact, I wondered if my eldest would be asking some questions this year, and I’m thankful that we seem to have come through this Christmas without suspicion.  I want to soak up this innocence, this naïveté, this complete trust in something so full of wonder.

And when the time comes, and the Santa myth is discovered, I plan to follow some advice I recently read online, and teach my children “that they are a part of a larger community, that they can be magic and bring magic into someone else’s life.”

Magic. ‘Tis the season for magic.


Come and Visit Us

I’m going to get a bit sentimental, a bit nostalgic, and a bit festive.  Let’s talk Christmas cards.

I have strong memories of my mother sitting down every December to write out personalized Christmas cards to a huge circle of friends and family.  She would sit at the kitchen counter with her address book, her pen, and her stamps, and very thoughtfully and deliberately write a note in each one.  Sometimes a Christmas letter would be printed, summarizing our year for those we didn’t see often, and a family picture was always thrown in the mix.  As a young child, I remember my dad fiddling behind the tripod to get the right shot, and as a surly teenager, my patience would wear thin with try after try.

But, as with most things, you don’t realize that memories are being made until they are already a part of you.  So as December rolls around, my own Christmas card clock starts to tick.  My list has grown over the years, and I now send more than one hundred cards, either through the mail or hand-delivered.  I’ve got my spreadsheet, my address book, and my envelope-sealing husband; we’ve become a finely-tuned assembly line of Christmas cheer.  I send them as a way to keep in touch; a real, personal, from-the-heart touch in this world of email/Social Media immediacy.  Christmas cards are my annual way of sending a hug across the miles and a you’re-important-to-me message through the mail.

With a childhood in Alberta, school friends all across Canada, and backpacking friends overseas, my postage order is colourful and diverse.  This is my way to reflect on my life, cultivate my community, build my village.  My cup runneth over.

This year, the message on our card reads “Come and visit us.”  And I mean it.

To my friends overseas, I hope to see you soon.

To my friends across North America, the guest room’s open.

To my friends in Burlington, pop-bys are welcome and the coffee is on.

To my family and friends in Alberta, I miss you.

Come and visit us. 

Happy holidays from my family to yours!

Happy holidays from my family to yours!

Christmas Presence: A Poem

I don’t have a blog for you, this week’s a cheesy poem.
I’m writing this one by the dim light of my phone.
It’s late in my house now, and I’ve been busy you see,
Hiding Elf on the Shelf and making Christmas cookies.

I’m finding it tricky to balance it all,
With the stress of December and the trips to the mall.
My son, almost six, wants Thor and a sword,
And I’m not big on weapons, please help me, oh Lord.

My daughter, she’s two, and she wants just one thing:
A pink kitty necklace and its bright sparkly bling.
Don’t forget about parents, and yes there’s my hubby,
Nieces and nephews and stockings to make chubby.

And there’s holiday cards I get made with our pics,
I send more than one hundred, lots of envelope licks.
And then there’s the tree and of course Christmas lights,
My decor is less homey, more cheery and bright.

I have written blogs lately, on weight belts and my run,
On concussion and movement and of course on my hun.
On school kids and snatches and on being 35,
It’s true, after that one, my email’s on overdrive.

But if I’m being honest, I’ve been quite distracted,
I’m in the business of magic and my time’s been impacted.
You see this year I’m Santa, and the magic is planned.
My kids believe fully and they truly understand.

I’m in the midst of those years that are few and are priceless,
Where if we don’t leave out cookies there could be a crisis.
They see Christmas miracles in the simplest of stuff
And of holiday carols they can’t get enough.

So I’m drinking them in and I’m soaking them up,
Their gifts are very few but our outings fill their cup.
Because it’s presence, you see, that is a gift all year through
Not presents in December that will have to make due.

So take a walk down the street and link arm in arm,
Tell your honeys you love them and they’ll keep you warm.
I wish for you family and happiness and friends,
This holiday season and right to the end.

I saw this image floating around Facebook; that's what inspired my post.

I saw this image floating around Facebook; that’s what inspired my post.