Holiday magic

12265857_10153720686311774_5837849065688870874_oAs a parent, I’ve been mostly against promoting the myth of Santa and all of the expectation around receiving gifts. While I learned pretty early in my childhood that Santa had the exact same handwriting as my mom, I also didn’t want to pass along what has become extreme materialism to my daughter. At the generosity of lolas, apong, aunties and uncles, every inch of our living space is covered with all kinds of critters and Disney figures, stuffed animals, legos and bristle blocks, baby dolls and their accessories, tea cups and plates, pies, and picnic items . . . and books, too! While I certainly try to limit the kinds of gifts N. receives (AND we make donations on a monthly basis), it’s a challenge to deny the act of gift giving by . . . especially grandparents. We just don’t have the physical space to accommodate so many treats!

For years, I’ve detested Christmas. Having to buy gifts for extended family, what to give to elderly parents, aunts and uncles who already have everything. Couldn’t it just be about spending quality time with family? Just like in the Little House on the Prairie episodes with Pa playing his fiddle and children dancing arm in arm. My fondest Christmas memories are those with family in Connecticut and spending the entire afternoon crafting our Christmas play to be performed in the evening. Nothing too fancy, but lots of fun.

Then, N. happened. And I’ve had a change of heart. After all, Santa is more about believing in the magic of the Universe and the goodness that exists among all that is insanely mad and evil in the world.

Alas, I’ve already rubbed off on my three-year-old, who from what I can tell thinks that Santa is a nice story . . . like Frosty, like Rudolph. I’ve strived to make sure she gets it — that the holidays are about family and love. But with all the hype when asked, she doesn’t hesitate to tell you what’s on her mental Christmas list. Thankfully it’s a short one, and the items change daily.

What to get for my preschooler who seems to have everything? I’ve tried to focus on experiences. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we ventured to the Winter Walk of Lights at our local botanical gardens, where we are frequent visitors and have a membership. As we approached the main entrance to go on our holiday escapade, N. sweetly said, “Thank you, Mama, for bringing me here.” Though it was just past dusk and I couldn’t see her face, I just knew her eyes beamed with anticipation.

That was all the magic I needed to kick off the Yuletide holiday.

How do you keep the magic simple and calm in the holiday air?

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