Monday, December 2, 2002

Santa Claus' Last Stand

I am sure every family has unique ways of celebrating the Christmas season. Going to the holiday parade, hanging of the greens, or just eating a delicious meal together, every family has their own exclusive way to celebrate Christmas with their immediate family. My family is just like everyone else, and we have many Christmas rituals that have become traditions and it does not seem like Christmas without them.

I know it may seem like we are rushing the season, but we have always put our Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving Day. We look forward to setting up the tree and decorating with all the lights and ornaments. Last year my husband added a special feature to our tree—a revolving tree stand. Now, not only do we have many colorful lights and hundreds of wonderful ornaments, but the tree slowly turns so every side is visible. The first time I saw the tree all lit up, I wasn’t sure if I was excited or just nauseous with motion sickness, but after a few minutes, it began to grow on me. One major advantage to the revolving tree is more of my precious ornaments can be seen.

Our Christmas traditions have grown into the non-stop, hurry-hurry, rush-rush of one huge meal after another and then the outrageous amount of gifts there are to open. It seems we have become so trained to try and make our holiday season as picture perfect as possible that we have forgotten to slow down and just enjoy the season.

My children have always been my motivation when it came to the holiday seasons. I’m guilty of trying to make my children’s Christmas’ as perfect as possible. I always had to make sure I had just the right gift and that I had spent equal amounts of money on each child, which can be really hard if there, is a big age difference in your children. Now that I have two grown daughters and a ten-year-old, my enthusiasm to have the “perfect Christmas” is starting to fade. I am beginning to have a greater appreciation for a more simple type of celebration. Is it because I’m getting older, or is it because my children are getting older?

This Christmas will revolve around that inevitable question…”Momma is Santa Claus real?” I don’t think there is a parent out there who has not felt that pang of sadness when their children stop believing in Santa. Although my brain tells me that Christine has stopped believing in Santa, my heart has a hard time accepting. I hate to see this tiny bit of childhood fantasy come to an end. Christmas is truly for children but I am going to miss playing “Santa” every year. ZI am going to miss making sure there are just enough crumbs left on Santa’s plate so the girls think he got full. Or, meticulously wrapping each and every gift from Santa, all in the same type of paper with the same types of bows. Or, putting on bright red lipstick and kissing each girl on the cheek every Christmas Eve, just so they will think Santa cam in to kiss them.

This year, it will be just me, my hubby and Christine to open gifts on Christmas morning. I am not going to make an issue of Santa, I’ll just do like I did with the big girls, and I’ll ignore it. I never had the Santa “talk” with Amber or Marie, and I probably won’t with Christine. They have all three asked me, at one time or another, if “I” believed in Santa and my answer was always “YES”. I firmly believe that when a child wants to stop believing, he or she will, but they should not be forced to give up the fantasy before they are ready. So, until Christine is ready to truly stop believing, we will still open gifts on Christmas morning. In all honesty, my husband can’t wait until Christine decides she wants to open up ALL her gifts on Christmas Eve, just like her sisters. Then we can stop getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. Now that is one tradition I won’t miss!

© Bobbi Rightmyer, December 2002