Well folks, like it or not, the year is coming to an end (already!) but on the plus side, we are officially in the thick of “the most wonderful time of the year.” Christmas is upon us, and as anyone with small children can attest, it truly is a magical time. With each twinkling light and sparkling tree they come across, children exude such an infectious joy and excitement about the holiday that even the grumpiest of adults can’t help but be reminded of the magic of the season. Kids all over the world wait anxiously for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve, fighting to stay awake with the hopes of catching a glimpse of him as he leaves their presents under the tree. As the parent of a three year old, I find that Christmas grows more and more exciting with each passing year – last year she was starting to get acquainted with Santa, but this year she truly grasps the concept and has been talking about his visit for a good few weeks now. Admittedly, reinforcing the rules is certainly a tactic I use to get her to behave – you’d be amazed how quickly kids will fall in line when they are reminded that Santa doesn’t bring toys to naughty children! The more I think about it, the more I realize the whole thing may very well have been dreamt up by some frustrated parents who were desperate for a way to get their kids to behave… regardless, I’m glad the jolly old man is such an integral part of the holiday – never have I seen my daughter’s face light up in quite the same way that it does when Santa drops by for a visit.
She officially met him a couple of weeks ago, sitting in his lap for the first time. Whatever fears she might have had (“he’s too hairy”, “he’s really big”) were instantly washed away, and she is now officially a huge fan. This past Monday was her school’s holiday program, her first of its kind, during which she brought tears of pride and joy to my eyes, stealing the show with her adorable performance. And when Santa made his visit towards the end, she all but stood up on her chair to carefully watch his every move and cheer him on, singing and clapping along with the rest of the students as he weaved through the crowd making his way towards them in the front. She looked over at me to make sure I knew what was going on and mouthed with raised eyebrows and animated gestures “Mom, Santa is here!” It was truly priceless. And now I really, truly get it. And whatever reservations I might have had about blatantly lying to my daughter about the old man in the red suit are gone for good. The benefits far out weigh the risks (I doubt she will love me any less when she learns the truth one day) and in the end, in this world, especially during times like these, we all can use a little magic in our lives- especially the children.
In the wake of Friday’s unspeakable tragedy, it’s difficult to continue appreciating the holiday in quite the same way this year. But I’ve been reminding myself that, for the good of children everywhere, it’s important to carry on and maintain the magic of the season, always remembering the little angels and their guardians that we lost that day, honoring their memory and doing our very best to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
Wishing you a peaceful holiday season- regardless of what you celebrate, it’s a time to enjoy the comfort of your loved ones, celebrate the gift of life and not only hope, but strive towards peace on earth.