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.

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The Magic of Christmas through the Magic of Children

The magic of Christmas is in full swing around our house.

With a son who’s nearly four, and a nine-month-old baby girl who gets excited about everything, we’ve been in festive-mode for weeks.  Our lights are up.  Our cookies are baked.  Our Santa letters are written.  Our presents are bought and wrapped.  And next weekend, we’ll make the trek to a tree farm to cut down our own tree, a la Chevy Chase’s ‘Christmas vacation‘.  I’ve always loved the holiday season, and my Christmas memories from childhood involve the warmth of my parent’s house, the twinkle of lights on the tree, the excitement of family get-togethers, and the anticipation of Santa’s arrival.

These days, I’m in the business of making holiday memories for my children, while cherishing moments that pass all too quickly.  There is such a small window of time when children are old enough to ‘get’ the idea of Santa, and yet young enough to believe.  We’re talking six or seven years- maybe eight if you’re lucky.

That’s only six or seven Christmases of innocent, curious questions:

  • Where will Santa park his sleigh?
  • How will Santa get in if we don’t have a chimney?
  • Will his gloves make his hands too slippery to open the front door?
  • Do reindeer like to eat carrots?
  • How many sleeps until Christmas?

That’s only six or seven Christmases for ‘Mall Santa’ photos:

Christmas 2009.  Not a fan.

Christmas 2009: Not a fan.

Christmas 2010.  Not a fan.

Christmas 2010: Still not a fan.

Christmas 2011.  Coming around...

Christmas 2011: Coming around to the idea of Santa…

Christmas 2012.  An old pro showing his sister how it's done!

Christmas 2012: An old pro showing his sister how it’s done!

That’s only six or seven Christmases of whole-hearted enthusiasm for our family’s Christmas traditions:

We’re right in the thick of it.  So for these six or seven Christmases, I’m soaking up as much magic as I can.  Because these two little bugs make me a believer.

kids Sarah Martin

Merry Christmas!