Last year, we didn’t have any believers in my house. My little people were too young to grasp the whole concept of Santa. Of course there was excitement over the decorations and presents, but when we tried to talk about Santa, their attention had already moved to tugging baubles from the tree. For years my Christmas spirit lay dormant, lazy and unashamedly scrooge-like. Although I certainly enjoyed myself, Christmas was an adult affair; about indulgence, trying to get excited about a new take on cooking the vegetables and a break from the desk job.
The feelings behind my long-forgotten childhood mantra returned when my little boy whispered
‘I’m so excited about Christmas’ in an earnest little voice.
He said it spontaneously as I hurriedly fastened him into his car seat and on our way to do some Christmas shopping. Anticipating my response and eyes wide with wonder, he peered up at me through his grey-blue eyes and thick dark lashes. I paused. I had never seen this beautiful expression on his face before.
‘I’m excited too’ I said, kissing him on his wrinkled nose as he pulled away from me with a giggle. This was my first notable inkling that I was in the company of a believer. At that moment I felt the weight of a new responsibility. I would be responsible for creating my children’s entire Christmas experience, a production lasting weeks and responsible for having all the facts to hand; how does Santa get down the chimney? How do the Reindeer fly? And how does he deliver presents to all the children in the world? After a week of questions, I am now a Santa expert. I have learned all the facts and most importantly my responses are 100% consistent. As I have discovered the slightest deviation in my story will lead to a more thorough interrogation.
The magical little glint in my son’s eyes has brought Christmas alive. That giddy look of sheer joy and excitement has made my Christmas real. In my house Christmas really is coming. Elf is on the shelf. We talk to Santa on the phone. It doesn’t matter (yet) that sometimes he speaks in lofty Received Pronunciation and other days he’s from Brooklyn. We don’t need to try to feel Christmassy anymore. I can’t wait for Christmas and maybe it sounds silly, but a small part of me wishes that I too, was four years old and could relive the magic of Christmas.
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