When I was younger, Christmas Time at our house could only be described as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. My family (mainly me) followed every mainstream Christmas tradition you could possibly imagine. I’m talking, decked out pre-lit Christmas trees and gingerbread worthy of its own feature in the “Twelve Days of Christmas”. Not to mention, our themed decorations would make even the likes of Martha Stewart proud.
Yet through all these seasonal changes, every year my immediate family gathered together for our festive holiday get-together. Starting every Christmas eve we’d sing the best of Christmas carolaoke; bake some Top Chef quality cookies, and reminisce our most embarrassing life fails.
Hours later, after all the “remember whens” and “haha’s, I can’t believe you did that’s” were finally over; us kids were quickly rushed off to bed, as the countdown to Santa’s arrival officially began.
As for the twenty-something writing this article, my Santa countdown officially began December 25, the day after Christmas. As you can tell, I’ve been a Christmas fanatic for quite some time now and not much has changed, especially when it comes to Santa.
It all started when my parents first shared with me the story of Santa Claus. As a kid I was amazed by it all; the magic reindeer, army of elves, and even Santa himself, which made the anticipation for Christmas that much greater. I mean my brothers and I would stay up for HOURS just anticipating Santa’s arrival. We’d even periodically sneak downstairs to check beneath the tree for newly delivered presents. It’s amazing when you think about it really, that growing up, you’d never actually catch your parents putting presents under the tree. It’s like, at some point throughout the night, you wake up and boom there they are – almost like magic.
Regardless, some of my most memorable Santa moments were actually made in malls, churches, and sometimes local department stores. Back then, there was nothing comparable to seeing Santa actually come to life right before your eyes. I remember waiting in line, for what seemed like hours, thinking: “How’d he get here? Fly?” “Where’s his reindeer?” When all of the sudden, there’s a tap on your shoulder from the big guy himself.
Sporting his silky red jumpsuit, he sat down, let out a deep and hearty laugh then calmly said: “Take a Knee”. So, there I was, nervously whispering to him all my secret wishes of puppies and nerf guns. As expected, his voice was warm and comforting, while his hair was long coupled with a thick white beard. And I swear if you looked close enough, you’d catch a twinkle in his eye or a dimple on his cheek. Then, in that very moment, everything you’ve ever asked for just slips your mind.
Fast forward some 10 years or so, and WOW hasn’t everything changed. You no longer stay up anticipating Santa’s arrival, and you stop sending letters declaring how good you’ve been all year. You even begin missing those annual family gatherings because of “distance” or “work”; no more Christmas cards, no more decorations.
You’re just too busy, or you don’t have enough time.
Now as “adults”, we send out letters of gratitude thanking complete strangers for their holiday parting gifts (I’m particularly guilty of this one). And as for those bigger occasions, gift sets which serve as an apology for missing this year’s annual get-togethers or holiday parties. You walk past department store Santa’s thinking: “Must be hard asking spoiled children what new toy they want this year”.
Obviously, the times have changed and so have you.
Now, some 15 years later and you’re left wondering……
Once you stop believing in Santa, do you stop believing in the spirit of Christmas altogether?
Listen, something adults neglect to tell you is Christmas will never be the same. When we were kids, it all came so naturally to us. We believed one man and his 8 magic reindeer delivered billions of presents worldwide, strictly on a milk and cookies diet (maybe even a muffin here and there). We treasured this belief until you realize, that’s all a bribe meant to turn one bad egg into Santa’s little helper.
But guys Santa’s way more than that.
Earlier I said I believed in Santa Claus, and trust me I do. Obviously, the story behind Santa (the elves, magic reindeer, flying sleigh, you get the idea) is nothing but a fairytale. What I believe in is what Santa stands for.
He’s not only a symbol of giving, but he’s what the Christmas spirit is all about. As a kid you don’t really get that, all we cared about was waking up to a room full of presents. The truth is, Santa Claus embodies every person willing to put someone else’s needs before their own.
Think about all the time’s people have wondered why the world is a little bit nicer during this time of year. See, the answer is actually pretty simple, because we’re all reminded how good it feels to play Santa every once in awhile.
Now that doesn’t mean throw on a big red suit and shout ho ho ho. No, go out and spread some Holiday cheer (especially now when we need it the most). Go ahead and give someone something they could only dream of! Make someone laugh, pay it forward, do something unexpected, or make it a point to put your loved ones first. If you take anything from this post, I hope you realize Santa Claus embodies everything we WANT to believe in: Selflessness, caring, hope, and dreams. He’s a reminder that what you get beneath some pre-lit, pine scented, fake tree, isn’t worth more than quality time spent with friends or family.
And please remember, this time of year isn’t about comparing your story to that of someone else’s. The holidays are about creating magical stories of your own, with the people you love, doing what makes you happy.
If you live by that or believe in any of these things all year round, the Christmas spirit never really dies.
And with that, I hope you all have a Happy Holiday and a very special and magical New year!!!!