This is the year I broke down and told my kids that the reindeer pulling the sleigh aren’t real. That the jolly fat man in the red suit is really Mom and Dad hanging out in their pajamas, drinking, watching non-kid-friendly holiday movies and wrapping gifts. The thing is… they’ve known for years.
My son has played along so his sister would believe, but she ditched the tooth fairy in favor of keeping her teeth to show off (why—I don’t know) after she lost the first one. She’s six.
I’m not sure what happened that made them stop believing in magic, but it makes me sad. Not that I want them to be made fun of at school or anything, but that loss of innocence is a big deal. Often, teachers and friends and television dictate what kids think is cool or right. Most of the time it’s a good thing, but I believe in embracing the imagination, so when we had our talk, that was a big part of it. Holding on to what’s worth keeping while letting go of the rest.
I also made sure to remind them that just because one bit of magic isn’t what they thought, it doesn’t mean magic isn’t real. We spent some time talking about miracles and things that defy explanation. We even talked about the religious significance of both Christmas and Yule and the magic inherent in both. And we talked about how people can make magic every day by the things we do.
And we discussed a way for us to create some magic next Christmas for someone. (Surprisingly, they didn’t pick the dogs first, but I would’ve been okay with that. To the dogs, everything is magic.) They decided to make a Build-A-Bear for a kid from the giving tree at their favorite restaurant. Total proud-mom moment right there, and I’ve never seen them as excited to be at Build-A-Bear.
When I tuck them in that night, one of them (because they always do) will ask me if I believe in magic. I’ll do what I always do. I’ll tell them the truth—I do. I always have. Then I’ll remind them that what I believe in my heart doesn’t matter as much as what they believe in theirs. And I’ll kiss them goodnight and tell them to sleep sweet.We celebrate our little family Christmas on Saturday. Friday night before bed, we’ll sit back, and I’ll read the holiday story I wrote for the PRT series. It’s one of those stories that I love and wish I could share with the world, but it has so many spoilers it has to stay hidden (basically until the series is done). But since the kids hear me brainstorming, they already know all the spoilers, so I can share it with them.
And I’ll rely on faith, trust and pixie dust that in the morning, my kids’ worlds will miraculously be a more magical place than it was when they believed in the man in the red suit and elves and flying reindeer…because they’ll believe in possibility.
That is my holiday wish to my children and every one of my readers. Whatever your faith or celebration, Happy Holidays from me and the PRT.