As a child my life was filled with magical things. My mom being a very theatrical lady, made the most of her talents by making each special occasion one of enchantment. Our Easter egg hunts were to die for, our Halloweens were spooktacular, she even went as far to set out little pots of gold on our front door step for my brother and I on St. Patty’s day.
And on the days in-between these monumental junctures we would sing and dance in the living room. We made up plays to perform for nobody at all and went on wild adventures in our own backyard- each time experiencing a new-fangled voyage.
Every night would end in a story told by the greatest story teller I have ever known, Mom.
So with all of this wonder happening everyday in our home, I’m sure you can imagine what the festive time of Christmas was like in the Sawyer household. To this day I still get giddy when walking into my Mom’s home and finding her decorations have been set out in their perfect fashion.
Each trinket telling a story of our life that now seems so long ago. Every piece of Christmas paraphernalia seeming so natural, so ordinary, so…Just like home.
Mom really talked up Ol’ Saint Nick when we were youngsters. She told us all about his workshop in the North Pole and the elves and Rudolf too. Christmas Eve we would always try to stay busy. Baking cookies for Santa’s arrival was a must. Assuring we had enough milk to wash down those sugary delights was of great importance too. We then would sing carols in the front room of our doublewide (thankfully it was located in the middle of nowhere so nobody was subjected to our off tune singing) and lastly she would recite The Night Before Christmas to us.
This was always what I looked forward to. Her mannerisms when performing that poem were amazing, and my brother and I would be captivated through the entire narration.
Finally it would be time to sleep. To be clear, there would be no sleeping…Or very little that is. Dustin and I would camp out in my room, desperately listening for hoofs upon our tin roof. Every now and then Mom would pop her head in and let us know that the newscaster on the TV just reported that Santa was in Hong Kong, or Australia…The United States! These updates made it even harder to get to sleep.
And the rest is history. We would wake from a groggy 2 and a half hour snooze to find our stockings were full and an unwrapped present from Santa sat there lovingly.
It just felt so real. Never in my younger years did I doubt that a jolly fat man flew around the world delivering presents to every child on the Nice List. It was simply the way it was.
I believed so much that it wasn’t until I was 11 that I got the news broken to me. It was a balmy June day. Why the topic of Santa had came up I’m not quite sure, Christmas should have been the last thing on our minds so close to summer vacation.
I don’t remember who told me, I pretty sure I’ve mentally blocked out this traumatizing moment in my life. I do remember though that it was unbelievable to the other ‘kids’ that I still believed in Santa.
I cried my way home on the bus that day, but as hard as my younger brother Dustin tried to ask me what was wrong I would not tell him. I couldn’t be the bearer of this sort of bad news to him.
After I got over the initial shock of losing Santa- a friend I had known for as long as I could remember, I still had an inkling in the back of my mind. It was as though I just could not bring myself to not believe.
But because children want to be accepted and yearn for the approval of their peers these thoughts were kept just for me. Like a magnificent secret that only I knew about.
As each Christmas passed, the thought of Santa Claus stayed firm in my mind. I never truly let him go.
Today at almost 28 years old, I still have not let him go. And around this time of year, this magical time of year, I am reminded of my childhood days and believing in the wonder that is Christmas. I am filled with a feeling of hope and rejuvenation, and I love watching as my children are given the allowance to feel this as well.
It was never about the presents when we were young, we were never showered in gifts a-plenty but sure as the angel atop my Christmas tree, that gift from Santa in which we asked for would always be there waiting for us.
Maybe I don’t believe in a physical Santa Claus anymore, because time and age has jaded me. But I do believe in the magic. I believe in the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of St. Nicolas, and the beautiful feeling this time can bring when it is stripped down to its origin.
On that balmy June day, when my 11 year old world has been ripped apart, my unparalleled Mother said these words to me, “Lindsay, you can believe in anything you want to believe in. The spirit of Christmas will always be in your heart, and that is what Santa Claus truly is.”
That day, my mom gave me the greatest Christmas present I could have ever asked for without even knowing it.
Thank you Mom, for always allowing us to believe.