Growing up in Delaware, Christmas meant waking up to open presents, a visit to church for Christmas mass, followed by a 3-hour car trip to Pennsylvania to visit our grandparents, aunts & uncles. This picture was taken at my aunt's house. She's the older of my father's two sisters, and J.J. and I were lucky enough to stay with her and her husband this summer when he took his first road trip at 7 weeks.
I'm the awkward one in the center, not really sure where to look. I'm guessing I wasn't that thrilled with my new doll, as I was more of a Tonka truck kind of girl.
As I was wrapping gifts for J.J., the bear, Zitty, Lillie Biscuit and Joe earlier this evening, I was reminded of those Christmases past. When exactly did my siblings and I find those gifts from Santa in my parents' closet and weren't we scared to confront our parents with the fact that maybe we thought this whole Santa thing was a hoax?
For me, the best thing about Christmas is seeing it through the innocent eyes of children.
Seeing Christmas as a time to be with family and to be surprised and to give to others and not having the weight of the world on our shoulders. Christmas, while it is not the holiest of holidays (Easter, although it tends to be overshadowed by the wonders of Christmas, is the basis for the Christian church), is one of the most special, mystical days of the year.
As far as Santa goes, the bear is still a believer. I have a feeling that by next year or the one after, we'll be bribing her not to spoil it for her little brother.
Want to experience Christmas? Ask a child what they want Santa to bring them. Even better, remind them during the month of December while they're being difficult that he's watching. And if they question his existence, tell them that if they don't believe, he just might not take the time to shimmy down the chimney and leave them something special.
When J.J. was born, I took a few minutes to tell him the way things are. I told him the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I told him how hard life is going to be. I told him how even those people who love us most sometimes disappoint us. Then I told him no matter what, his daddy and I love him very much and even though there are times he might not believe it, everything we do, we do because we love him. Then I promised to never bring any of that stuff up again for many many years.
So, although we will spend maybe the next 10 years deceiving him, telling him a jolly fat man who lives at the North Pole can see his every action, we do it because we love him and because just maybe seeing him believe will reignite that spark within us.