On Christmas eve my 8 year old Granddaughter found out there wasn’t a Santa Claus. Turns out Missy found the Santa Gifts that had been hidden away. In this year of Christmas lockdown we rely on facetime and text to share our holidays and the text came from my daughter Drew late Christmas Eve. Simply put she swore as is her way and typed “Thanks 2020”! Frankly I’m not sure who was more upset. My daughter or my granddaughter.
I was not raised with the concept of Santa Claus. My older brother Tim has told me he remembers one Christmas where our father made noise and banged the outside of the house pretending to be Santa. However, my parents came from Denmark with three young children and so our traditions are very Danish. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve and all gifts are opened then. So its hard to believe in a guy leaving children presents when he doesn’t leave you any presents. There is a Danish version of Santa Claus but he didn’t make the cut on the move from Denmark to Canada. Though his elves did. Through the years we have adopted some Canadian aspects of Christmas, mainly eating turkey instead of goose, but all in all time stood still for us and we have stayed true to my mothers childhood memories.
That being said, we all tend to grow up and get married so then there have to be some amendments to life and child rearing becomes a joint effort. Even when it comes to Santa Claus. My husbands memories of Christmas Eve are being so excited for the morning that he was almost sick. Laying in bed waiting and waiting was almost unbearable. He told me that any time before six a.m. was not allowed by his parents so some nights he crept up the basement stairs from his room and just sat quietly near the landing. Waiting. In my home we were probably up at the same time. Because we hadn’t gone to bed yet. After the festivities of the night were through we would play games, cards, do puzzles, or just play with new toys. Bedtime was when you just couldn’t keep your eyes open any longer. Truth be told, I like my way better. I got to sleep in.
Of course being married we incorporated traditions from both homes in the celebration. Which meant gifts from each other on Christmas eve and then Christmas morning my children would find one gift from Santa that was the dream present and a stocking filled with nuts and candy and an orange as well as a movie or music cd. We did the usual leaving cookies and milk for Santa although the Danish tradition was a rice porridge. It was left for the Nisser (naughty elves) so they wouldn’t play tricks on the family. After a late night celebrating my husband and I would get up and have coffee Christmas morning and wait for the children to arise. Year after year we would get a little bored waiting so we would go and wake them up. They already had presents and were tired so they weren’t as excited for Santa. It worked well for us. Especially in the early years when we stayed over night at my Mom and Dads house.
Over time, as adults, we lose the magic felt for the long ago childhood traditions although we try to give the feeling to our children and grandchildren. At least some do. I remember the year my husbands 28 year old sister called my parents home at 6:00 a.m. Christmas morning. She was anxious to open gifts and wanted us to hurry over to my Mother-in-laws house. Our parents lived within walking distance to each other. The wall phone was just outside my childhood bedroom and my husband managed to grab it before it woke up the rest of the household. He was quite angry with her and made it clear we would get there when we got there. I think he was more embarrassed than anything. She wasn’t married and didn’t have children so she hadn’t yet evolved to the place we were at. Married with a small child. In fact a lack of money had us develop a contest to see who could buy the best gift for the least amount of money. Ten dollars was the outside limit. Rene’ always won. I still cherish the gift one year when I was pregnant with our second child. A poem. How can you ever beat that. As for presents we tried to create the magic for our kids along with the magic most dear to my heart. The story we read every Christmas eve. It comes from the book of Luke in the bible and many may recognize it from Charlie Brown Christmas where Linus recites it after trying to convince people of the true meaning of Christmas. As we say in our family… Jesus is the reason for the season.
This year through Facetime we were able to watch Missy read it from her Moms bible as her 21 month old twin brothers jumped in front of the screen waving and saying Hi. Though 2020 is different and we were unable to be together I know Missy will be okay with her newfound knowledge. Santa represents magic and excitement and tradition for little ones. She is growing up. Maybe too quickly for her Mother but even without Santa she already knows about the true magic and gift that we know from the first Christmas. All because her Mother made sure to teach her that as well. Traditions are passed from generation to generation and when these no longer fit our lives or we are unable to practice them as with this year, we find that we are still okay. Because time moves on and if we spend our lives trying to make things stay the same forever we will never find peace. Christmas isn’t about the traditions. The food. The presents. It isn’t even about Santa Claus. It is about hope. And we all need a whole lot of that right now.
This year has shaken the world. Life isn’t the same. Time has moved forward and changes are happening quickly. Like a train racing towards you on a track. You can get in front and try and stop it or you can jump on board and see where it takes you. If you do the visual on this one it is a no brainer. This year has taught me that each day brings something new. By embracing it I will evolve and learn and make peace in my own life and with those around me. Going forward perhaps the world will spend a little less time worrying about how they want the world to be and accept that we are all one. And little girls who no longer believe in Santa will still find the beauty in her world. And her Mom will be sad that her baby is growing up but in time she will come to embrace her hand in creating such a beautiful person. I did. I made 4 of them. Letting go may start with Santa but I know it continues through out life and the sooner we learn how to do this the more amazing life can be. Because then we are open to anything and man life can be amazing. As my hubby used to say about our marriage, “Its been a roller coaster ride but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! Peace and love and Merry Christmas to all.