Let the Magic Begin

. November 26, 2013.

I had the best Christmas ever when I was about four years old. I woke up, as kids usually do, before anyone else. I then woke up my older sister. We then woke up my older brother and parents. We had to wait until everyone was ready – an excruciating five minutes that felt like fifty – and walked together down the hallway to our front living room where our tree waited.
Hey, I got the chalkboard I wanted! But wait. What were those white spots on our carpet, leading from the fireplace to the chalkboard and then into the kitchen? They looked like snowy footprints – big ones. I followed those footprints into the kitchen, where on the counter sat chalk for my chalkboard. Family lore says I was amazed that Santa had walked into my house to leave me a surprise, but he also was remiss about leaving footprints on the carpet. As I think back on Christmas past, I will always remember that one. It was magical. And I can replay every moment in my mind to this day.
Making Christmas Special
Each year around this time, I wonder what I can do to make Christmas special for my own family. We all have our busy and stressful times, and unfortunately mine usually falls around Christmas. Teachers can give projects that are due right after vacation. As a music minister in my church I’ve already been rehears- ing Christmas music for weeks. And we parents know all about the shopping, wrapping, baking and preparing that needs to happen before December 25.
Still, I want to make room for the magic. When my children were younger, it was easier. We’d go downtown to see Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Municipal Building – and one time got our own Christmas miracle when no one cried in the traditional “sit on Santa’s lap” picture. We’d put on Christmas music and jam to “Frosty the Snowman” while dressed in footie pajamas. And, somehow, a much- desired toy that Mom and Dad repeat- edly said “no” to purchasing, appeared under the tree courtesy of Santa.
Keeping Santa’s Secrets
My children are now 11 and 14. School, karate, ballet and friends all compete with cocoa and snow angels. Writing letters to Santa is now replaced by texting. And watching Christmas specials is no longer must-see TV.
There are times, however, that I can still see the toddlers inside my kids. They love to decorate our glass doors with many window clings. Each year we get ornaments that reflect their interests that year, making decorating the tree a walk down memory lane. And the Little People manger set still gets some play, when they think no one is looking.
I didn’t learn the secret of Santa’s footprints until I was in my 20s – and, to be honest, part of me wishes I didn’t know. Once we learn some of the secrets, we are truly grownups. So this year I promise to make some Christmas magic for my children. The best secrets – and the best memories – sometimes require a little bit of magic.