If you’re NOT one of those few who were robbed of Santa as a child (like my brother-in-law Dan, who repeatedly reminds us that SANTA is how Satan spells his name when he’s trying to trick us) then adulthood exposes two truths about the fat man who leaves cookie crumbs on the table. First, that he is fake, unreal, a fraud. And don’t give me the crap about the spirit of santa living through our good actions. That is not what we were told, and thus, insufficient. This exposure can be more devastating for some than others, like myself, for instance, who discovered the mythology of Santa, the bunny, and the tooth fairy all at once when I found a box of rotting childhood teeth in my parents’ closet. It was quite a frightening way to be informed of so much at once. The second truth about Santa, though, comes later on, and is much more pleasant. It happens when you realize that BEING Santa is actually way more fun than waiting up for him. This was a huge relief to me on two accounts.
Although of course the beauty of Christmas is Jesus and that can never be taken from you (box of teeth or no), it is still nice to know that all the Christmas fun doesn’t stop when there aren’t mounds of presents with your name on it. And second, I sure feel better about all those times feeling sorry for my parents. ALL those gifts for us and a measly homemade coupon book (which I never fulfilled), a JC Penney bathrobe, and whatever we found at the Dollar Store with Nana and Pop for them. My guilty conscience is greatly relieved to know they did enjoy Christmas after all. This was one of the best Christmases I have ever had, before I even opened a gift.
“Advent” is an advanced theological term that means little to busy adults or preoccupied college students. To parents of a toddler, however, “Advent” means oh so much. It begins in October or so, when you start selling the Christmas tree-getting-trip. Around that time you start digging up the children’s Bible and rehashing the Christmas story. After you get the tree (and turn it on every. single. time you come into the room) you spend the next month picking out recipes for Jesus’ birthday cake, discussing balloon colors, shopping for Christmas presents for cousins and Daddy, playing with the manger scene, faithfully pulling out the day’s Advent calendar item, singing Silent Night at the dinner table, looking for Santas, Frostys, and polar bears on the way to Grammy’s, singing “Hatty Birday dear Jesus” over and over, watching for Christmas lights at nighttime, watering, grooming, and playing golf with the Christmas tree, and, of course, discussing what will happen Christmas morning. Unlike previous years when it’s December 18 before I’ve given Christmas a second thought, Sam and I were VERY ready for Christmas this year. We had given it full mental preparation. A few things I never want to forget about Christmas 2010, when Santa and snow and Jesus came to visit in a real live way:
– An early visit from Santa Johnny. My brother is one of the most generous people I know. We celebrated with a rare dinner outing that night. (Side note: Red Robin is awesome, not only for unlimited steak fries – HeLLLOOO – but also for an incredibly amazing allergy menu. FYI if you have kids with allergies.)
– Sam’s first self-selected Christmas ornament: three golf balls, of course, forming a snow man. This guy is VERY lucky he survived Christmas in one piece. Very.
– a wonderful Christmas eve appetizer party at Grammy’s. We made a special trip to pick up SamMule and some pajamas because I was sure he would fall asleep after the long Christmas eve service. Instead, at Grammy’s he ran laps around the house screaming and laughing, stuffing sausage balls in his face and jumping up and down. He was not very tired.
– the look on Sam’s face when he opened his Thomas bike from santa. Christmas could have ended then, happily. Also, fun moment when Santa was one-upped by Aunt Julianne who gave him a bulldozer, which is actually way cooler than the bike. Thanks, Julie. 🙂 Sam also loves his official (junior sized) football, and kind of his soccer goal, although he calls it a tent and putts the golf ball into it. Whatever.
– My first Christmas entertaining at home. Not only was it a blessing to have Todd’s family with us, some of Sam’s favorite people, I loved picking out the menu weeks ahead of time (ham, scallopped potatoes, cheese ball, raspberry fools, wheat rolls, pear salad for fatties like me who are curious). I love being the host! Although, I was diagnosed with “too much Christmas” (exact words) from the dr. after having high blood pressure from all the fun. poo.
– the snow. Oh, the snow. I have never had a white Christmas before. Unfortunately, we now have to break the news to Sam that chances are he won’t have one again either, despite the pictures on every Christmas book we own and now, his own individual experience. Walking, or rather running, with Sam on Christmas night as the snow was falling was the best moment of Christmas. He also loved making the snowman with Cappy and Daddy. I wimped out after about ten minutes. Give me a break, it was freezing.
– My secret Santa gift. Props to John Haggan, my brother in law, who blessed me with the beginnings of a very effective storm-preparedness kit. Creative, personal, yet extremely useful. Also, I know have actual pictures of tornadoes to show Sam. This is a big moment for us.
– the photo video my sister put together of pictures of our family. (To the song “Heroes” by Paul Overstreet. shoutout.) I was sobbing and Todd was in tears as we watched little Sam, Jack, and Owen grow up in pictures. I was reminded how faithful God has been to us and our little family and all the prayers he has answered. Pictures can be sacred, I think.
I will close with this. First, I am glad I married by husband, who put together the soccer tent and the bike quickly and happily. When I asked him if he was prepared to spend the next few decades of Christmas Eves like this (putting together random presents) he said, “Absolutely!” Me too, Todd. 🙂