There is an elf at my house from black Friday til Christmas Eve. She has a cute cheerful face & wears a red jumper and is supposed to sit on the shelf or hide among the decorations and my granddaughters named her ‘Everbloom Woodsong’ when she came to live here in December of 2010. This is the 7th season that the little one has come to my house every single morning to look for her. This is the first season that her older sister did not.
When the eldest comes to my house, either after school or at some time over a weekend, she will say, “where’s Everbloom?” and I love that she asks, particularly if her sister is here anyway, but I am quite certain, as she achieves very high marks at school and is now almost 11 and a half years old, that she does not think, for even a moment, that Everbloom flies back to the North Pole nightly to report to Santa how the girls have been that day. I am pretty sure that on Christmas Eve morning, when she spies Everbloom at the top of the Christmas tree, where she has her final landing-place every year here, she will grin happily and she might even try to catch my eye, and I will know how much she loves this tradition, and I will know that she knows…if she does not try to catch my eye, there may still be a hint of wonderment but I suspect there is not. She will however continue to be “The Magic Keeper” for her little sister. I read an essay on The Huffington Post the other day about that confusing time of year as a parent, or in my case, a grandparent, when you have a child in your life on the edge of believing at Christmas. The author wrote that when she had THE Talk with her son she told him he was now the magic keeper for his little brothers and I thought that was one of the most beautiful ways to describe it.
I am in my last year of my forties and my parents never had THE Talk with me. I don’t know when it all changed or how it changed but never once did my parents say there is no Santa, never once did my parents say anything other than “if you don’t believe, where is the magic?” and for that I am still to this day, grateful. My Christmas memories from childhood are so full of joy and happiness and love and comfort and all those good words that so many children grow up without. To say I am thankful for my nearly perfect childhood is a tremendous understatement. Even after I was first divorced and had moved back into my parent’s home that June with my little toddler by my side, once again sharing the second floor of the house with my sister, in the morning that Christmas, when we awoke, there were presents under the tree. I never saw my mother or my father place one, I never saw them hidden in the basement or my parent’s bedroom. My mother never said a word and not one gift with my name on it was seen by my eyes until Christmas morning. We simply never stopped believing in our family.
When I walked my granddaughter to the bus stop this morning she reported to me that yesterday at school there was some talk among the children in her 3rd grade class that many of them don’t believe in Santa. She then went on to describe to me in great and animated detail what she discussed with her friends and that she argued her point that, “your parents have to pay the electric bill, they have to pay for the house where you live, gas for their trucks, and at my house there are violin lessons and my sister takes like ten dance classes, how on earth do you think parents can pay for ALL of that PLUS all of the presents that we find under the tree at Christmas, are you kidding me that you don’t believe?!” My heart felt glad, as she stepped onto the bus that although she is taller than most of her classmates, she is still very much a very little girl.
Full disclosure to report here…It is said, although I can’t remember doing it or it actually happening, that one Christmas when I was a young teenager, I found the hidden gifts and unwrapped lots of the presents and then re-wrapped them. I LOVE surprises and I can’t for the life of me imagine that I did this act, and I have no body memory of performing this act, but I am told that I did do this act. I remember SO many details from my childhood, adolescence, and teenage years, and am one of those people who just remembers so much random stuff, but I swear to you, I have no memory of doing this, it is just told to me that I did it. It is a great shame to me still, if it is the truth…Perhaps that is one of the many reasons why now, all these years later, I am more aware of why the magic matters. I am going to bake today, and I am going to have Christmas music pumping through all the hidden speakers in all the rooms of my house and it is going to smell wonderful in my little house. It is going to feel like the special day it is, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the day I always like to think about the new year to come, how the days will be longer from this day forward, and how I can make some magic in every one of the days in this new year ahead. I will find great joy in the simple pleasures of my home and the happiness of the holiday season and, because Everbloom was discovered this morning sitting on the jingle bells hanging on the stainless steel handle of my front door, I will be a very good girl today, just in case…