Remember when I asked at what age kids “get” the magic of Christmas? Yeah. Owen has answered that question a million times over for me since I wrote that post. NOW. It’s here. THIS YEAR. He’s not quite 2 1/2, and the twinkle in his eye when he looks at Christmas lights or talks about Santa or says the word “Christmas” says it all. I’m not generally a crier, but I can’t even tell you how many times in the last few weeks tears have sprung to my eyes at just how precious Christmas magic is through Owen’s eyes.
The epitome of Christmas magic is, of course, seeing Santa. And I mean the REAL Santa.
I wasn’t sure that we were going to get an official Santa picture this year. My parents never did this growing up (too expensive and silly), so I never really thought it was a big deal. But the way that Owen listens to stories about Santa (The Polar Express is his favorite bedtime book right now) with his eyes wide and expectant made me think that maybe this was a little bit of Christmas magic we were missing out on.
So this past weekend we decided to go for it.
I heard rumors that there was an awesome Santa at a nearby mall. I knew that waiting in a long line would ruin the Christmas magic for all of us (me especially!), so first condition was that we had to get there early and be one of the first people in line. Check.
We met several other adorable children in line and the waiting part was far easier than I expected. When Santa came in ho-ho-hoing, I almost burst into tears. You should have seen Owen rushing up and shouting, “HI SANTA!”. He believed so totally and completely.
When it was finally Owen’s turn he hopped right up on the big guy’s lap and started babbling to him about Christmas and reindeer and our tree. When Santa asked him what toy he wanted, he grinned and said “a trash truck”. He couldn’t stop smiling.
Magic, I tell you. Christmas magic.
Last Christmas, Owen didn’t know what hit him. He caught on pretty quickly that inside all of those beautifully wrapped boxes was a present, but I really don’t think he had any sense of Santa or sleigh bells or why we had a tree in the freaking living room. I’m still not totally sure he’ll “get it” this year, but we’ll see.
He has started asking to read The Polar Express almost every night before bed. (I only read a few sentences on each page — that’s long for a 2 year old!). He actually identifies Santa in a red suit, but still doesn’t really know who that is. Still, he chatters on and on about trains and hot chocolate and elves and Santa.
On Sunday we went to our town’s tree lighting ceremony and kids were getting their pictures taken with Santa. When Owen caught a glimpse of him, he said (with no particular emotion), “What’s Santa doin’ up there? Why dose men standing up there too?”. I had to simultaneously act like it was no big deal (because we had walked there without my wallet, so no pictures with Santa for Owen this year!), while also trying to build up some of the Santa illusion. Not sure if Owen really understood it was supposed to be the same Santa as in The Polar Express or not, but I do know he was pissed he couldn’t get up in the gazebo and play like he usually does in our town center.
Thankfully he DID get to
meet accost two other characters that he was totally enamored with. After the tree lighting he told everyone we met that he saw “A snowman, a bear, and Santa!” and all seemed equally exciting. He also got to slap some glue on a foam shape and cover it in glitter to hang on the town Christmas tree. He was SO PROUD to see his snowman hanging there when he was finished (and I was grateful for the diversion, aside from the fact that my stroller, which was parked downwind of this craft, is now covered in glitter).
Phew. Crisis averted.
How old was your kid when they first “got” the magic of Christmas (or another holiday you celebrate)? What did/do you do to plant the seed?