Christmas Magic

I need to wean myself and my kids off of Christmas.

We woke up this morning and the radio stations were back to playing their usual garbage. ABC Family went back to playing “How I Met Your Mother” all day.

It’s like everyone pretends yesterday never happened.

But it’s all just too fast for me. I prefer Christmas to fade out in a slow burn.

I always let the kids leave their presents under the tree for a few days. I like to watch them play with their things before they just become more stuff I have to pick up and put away. Before all the pieces get lost in the abyss of the playroom. Before they are simply trampled under the stampede of little feet running around this house.

I still like to snuggle with the kids on the couch, watch Christmas specials on DVR and gorge ourselves with Christmas cookies.

I’m still secretly hoping it will snow.

I’m not ready for it all to be over.

As I wrote the Elf on the Shelf’s goodbye letter this year, I cried just like I do every year. Not because I would miss having to move that Godforsaken thing, but because it symbolized another year under our belts. Next year is another chance that we will have a non-believer in the house. And that just hurts my heart.

I love that the kids race down the stairs to find the elf in the morning. I love that Henry and Tallulah ask all day, “Where’s Runny?” and then giggle when they rediscover his (extremely unimaginative) location. I love the boys’ questions about the logistical probability of Santa. I love when they open the present that they really, really wanted and squeal, “thank you, Santa!”

When parenthood came with a Santa suit, I immediately started dreading the day the truth would unravel his threads. Being Santa is one of the greatest joys of parenthood. Keeping his secret is one of the hardest, but most rewarding lies I’ve ever told. Charlie, who is in third grade, seemed on the fence this year. A fifth grade neighbor planted the seed on the way to the bus stop one day, but Charlie never said anything about it. I’ve been dreading the conversation. I’ve been preparing for it; worried about how to let him in on the secret without making him feel duped.

I don’t remember how old I was when I found out, but I remember having trouble accepting it. I thought Santa still came for other kids, just not for me. For me, Santa was my parents, but he still came for other kids. Because I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around his utter nonexistence.

I was heartbroken.

I’m just not ready for that heartbreak for them.

Santa doesn’t overindulge my kids. He is not about fulfilling their every wish. His spirit is more than that. His spirit is more than just one day.

As I walked around to check on each child on Christmas eve, their usual sweet faces looked especially angelic. I knew they were dreaming of magic. And you just can’t replace that feeling. I’m not ready for Christmas’ magic to be over.

For them or me.

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6 thoughts on “Christmas Magic

  1. It is very abrupt, isn’t it? I’m a bit overwhelmed by the tree and everything scattered all over our house – things need to have a PLACE and they don’t yet. However I’m slowly working my way through things. The kids are thrilled with the gifts they received however, we had a really interesting conversation with L last night at dinner.

    He said that he’d gotten a gift that he wasn’t really into (it was a truck, for the record). He just doesn’t play with trucks much anymore (except for the Hess trucks). He then asked if he could donate the truck to someone who might enjoy it more.

    Jay and I knew then that we’ve done good. I mean, you always question your choices and words with kids but within that moment we knew that he’s on a good path. BTW, he still believes in Santa and his elf – I fear this year might be the last.

  2. What!!!???!?!?! What do you mean there’s no Santa?!?!? I just thought I’ve been on the naughty list for the past 20 or so years and people would give me gifts out of sheer sympathy. I have to say, the days of Santa Trip stomping on the roof and jingling bells for Darren, have long been over. However, my son always enjoys purchasing one gift for each person in our family. His gifts are always so clever and so much heart put in to each selection. I have to say that I still feel that Santa is an idea, manifested through us as the simple joy of giving. Whether its gifts of trucks & dolls or of food and vodka (preferably vodka), I believe that there is Santa in all of us. The initial disappointment that you feel, if you remember, fades away almost instantly with stories from your own parents asking, “How did you hide that from us?” So, Virginia, there is indeed a Santa Claus…whether he lives down the shore, vacations in Florida, or really does live in the North Pole…he is alive and well in us all. Merry Christmas – what a beautiful photo!!!

  3. What!!!???!?!?! What do you mean there’s no Santa?!?!? I just thought I’ve been on the naughty list for the past 20 or so years and people would give me gifts out of sheer sympathy. I have to say, the days of Santa Trip stomping on the roof and jingling bells for Darren, have long been over. However, my son always enjoys purchasing one gift for each person in our family as we still do. His gifts are always so clever and so much heart put in to each selection. You can see the look of pride on his face when you open his gift…he is as excited as when he was 7 on Christmas morning. That NEVER goes away. And why not snuggle on the couch watching movies with the kids while eating cookies in July? After all Christmas is a year round event. I have personally used Santa at my bequest to increase kinder behavior in some children. I started a tradition years ago with my nieces and nephew where I write letters to them from the big guy himself. And although some are now 18 & 16, I still send them and they have saved every letter. They mow know it is me who writes for Santa, but nonetheless they go along with It. Too cute! I still feel that Santa is an idea, manifested through us as the simple joy of giving. Whether its gifts of trucks & dolls, of words like a letter, or of food and vodka (preferably vodka), I believe that there is still a Santa in all of us. The initial disappointment that you feel, if you remember, fades away almost instantly (which is why you cannot remember when you stopped believing) with your parents answering your questions, “How did you hide that from us?” So, Virginia, there is indeed a Santa Claus…whether he lives down the shore, vacations in Florida, or really does live in the North Pole…he is alive and well in us all. Merry Christmas to all – what a beautiful photo!!! And, remember, you’re not a cotton-headed ninny-muggins and you are NOT sitting on a throne of lies (Elf reference).

  4. Aw, this was sweet. I like a slow fade on Christmas as well. You know, my daughter found out the truth about Santa this year. I recently blogged about it, but the gist of it was that it didn’t turn out to be as horrible or sad as I thought. In fact, it was kind of cool that now she knows that the magic comes from me and her dad…because the magic is still there. Our Christmas traditions didn’t change with her new knowledge.

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