Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I like the Santa of my imagination the best. I think Santa suffers from over exposure sometimes. Just give me a "Ho Ho Ho" and the sound of jingle bells in the air. A glimpse of Santa on his throne in the mall is fun, but the closer you get, the more jarring imperfections are apparent. Even the most realistic Santa is not the same as the magical elf who appears when you are sleeping, and fills the tree with magical, sparkly packages. Norman Rockwell and Coca Cola images will always define Santa for me.
As a child, the most magical time was the middle of the night when I got up for a drink of water and found the dark room transformed. Once I found a beautiful little dressing table with a frilly skirt. Another time, I swear I heard jingle bells in the air and the sounds of hoofs on the roof, but when I looked into the dark night, I saw nothing. I don't want weather forecasters telling where Santa is, or phone calls or letters from Santa.
A neighbor decorates his whole house with amazing lights every year. We walk across the dark golf course for a yearly visit with Santa. But wise little Mia told me that is not really him. She thought his voice sounded a little like her Dad. She said, "I don't know why he pretends to be HIM."
My son, Cory, was 9 when we moved for a year to Pennsylvania. He didn't believe in Santa Claus that year until he looked under the tree and there was a toy truck just like his stepfather's big rig. It had little mirrors and all the parts and pieces. He tells me he thought that Santa must be real to leave such a perfect little truck that looked as if it had been shrunk. Unfortunately, he also tells me that he later found the box in the trash. I am so sorry for that. I know my mother would never have made that mistake!
My mother and her sister were raised in a children's home in North Carolina. She says they always had a big tree and lots of presents. I don't really know about her Christmas, but I know she made Christmas truly magical for me and my brother and her grandchildren. Jaime once asked me, as Jill has recently, if I would tell her the truth if she asked me a question. I feared a question about the source of babies, but Jaime said, "Grandma is really Santa Claus, right?"
For me, anticipation is everything. That is why I have always loved Christmas Eve more than Christmas morning. After that, Christmas becomes all about the people, the old traditions, the music, the food, and finding a way to make Christmas magical for someone else. Merry Christmas to all!