As we prepare for another Christmas morning it makes me think of Christmases past. For one thing, the belief in the Big Guy is still strong in spite of nonbelievers aplenty at French school. Ma Fille and the Middlest have come home wondering why they don't believe here. While the Middlest lets it sail right by him it seems like ma Fille is believing even harder just to make it so. Plus we have the Baby to think of; at two we've many more years of magic to keep alive.
One year in Ireland we went to visit Santa Claus at a Christmas festival. The big kids were much younger then but had come to terms with the fact that Santa uses a lot of helpers for things such as this....he can't be expected to be at all those malls, fairs and festivals himself. Not when there's so much work to be done. Our particular Santa that day was a jovial, sparkly eyed Irishman with a genuine white beard who played his part well. He seemed to truly enjoy being Mr O'Nick and was a far cry from some of the bargain basement Santas you'll find around; the ones who smoke on their break, banging the soles of their black boots together as they shuffle to keep off the chill and itching under their synthetic beards. This Santa was decreed to be The One and the deciding factor was that his breath smelled like hot chocolate. How can we not believe when we've actually met him?!
We've another year with all three children feeling the magic of Santa's visit, the crackle of anticipation and excitement that can only be found in a child's imagination still charges through our house, intact and sizzling; for now at least.
I wrote the following post last year in Ireland and it is even more true now so I thought I'd repost it for you this year.
I hope your holiday is full of love, kindness, excitement and joy. No matter how you celebrate it. All the best from me to you.
This year was the biggest year for Santa in our house. It is as if the 7 almost 8 year old believes even more fervently than ever before in order to keep it true. Of course the kids talk in the yard. They ask questions, wondering: how could a bike really fit through the chimney….and how does the alarm not go off when Santa creeps in….and why does my guitar say, 'made in China'?
To all of these questions we answer, it's magic. And Santa has elves in China. I was kicking myself for not taking off that little gold sticker! The magic part is real to me. Only if you believe will Santa come to see you. I even believe in him when I am sneaking upstairs holding my breath, to retrieve the hidden crocodile in my closet. It is Santa's magic that keeps them asleep, keeps them from hearing the Elmo cry out, "Elmo needs a hug!" and muffles the deafening sound of that horrible thick plastic they like to ensconce toys in these days.
So, they believe because we believe and none of us want this beautiful bubble of childhood to burst.
At the park on the Sunday then, you can imagine my horror as a woman we were talking to wielded a sharp bubble bursting pin. She didn't mean to, but her comments made me want to grab Ma Fille by the arm and start running, singing la,la,la,la,laaaaa at the top of my lungs to distract her. Of course that would have been silly so instead I screwed up my eyes at the lady then opened them wide, then gave her a creepy smile and a subtle jerk of the head in my innocent daughter's direction.
The whole thing was simply a misunderstanding. The lady in question is from Slovakia and what I didn't know but found out on Sunday, is that in Slovakia they believe that Jesus himself delivers the toys to children on Christmas Eve. She was telling us this interesting bit of anthropological trivia, never thinking that it could call into question our Santa belief. After my bizarre motioning and grimacing she realized and started backtracking.
"Different places believe different things but Santa still brings our Christmas presents." And that was that--bubble intact, floating along iridescent and pure—for at least another year.