Saturday, December 25, 2010

Just Don't Kiss Me Goodnight

When I was little, maybe about 5 or 6, I was pretty scared of Santa Claus. Wonderful though he was, the thought of a big man entering our home in the wee hours of the morning, tip toeing across the wooden floors just down the hall from where I slept, was a bit too much.

I remember asking my parents to, in the nicest possible way, let Santa know that there was no need for him to enter my bedroom for a goodnight kiss. In fact, there was really no reason for him to come into my room at all, as most of his business ought to be taken care of way out there by the Christmas tree.

Christmas Eve was a sleepless night. I always heard noises out there, and feared that if he knew I were awake he would pass right over this house and go right on to the neighbor's. Everyone knows that Santa only comes when you are asleep.

At the faintest glimpse of light, I would rush into my brother's room to discuss things of the utmost importance. "Do you think he came?", I would ask. "Do you think we can look?" he would respond. We would then sneak down the hallway and steal the quickest glance in the direction of the tree. In the earliest morning light, underneath the glittering tree, the shapes of wonderful things had appeared. Something pink and purple with wheels, a box-like thing that could be the dollhouse I had asked for, some kind of dark tower shape that could just be the Skeletor Castle Grey Skull that my brother had been dreaming of.

It was the unspoken rule, however, that we could only look for half a second before waking Mom and Dad. When we had dragged them out of bed, and successfully ushered them towards the living room, Christmas had officially arrived.

There were even boot prints in the soot around the fireplace. There was nothing but a nibbled carrot stub and cookie crumbs on the plate we had set out. There was always a humorous letter.

We would sort the presents and open them one at a time, working our way right down to the stockings, a tradition we continue to this day. The day I stopped believing in Santa wasn't monumental. But the day my brother stopped believing was very sad for me.

To believe in Santa, what is that exactly? A sense of wonder, a sort of spirituality, a leap of faith, and......


  1. Dad and I fashioned Christmas for you and Mark from our own Christmas memories, with some special touches of our own. (I think the sooty footprints were an inspired touch!) It is just wonderful to read your description of Christmas morning. That first awed glimpse of the lit tree with the unwrapped packages and gleaming toys! That is the reaction we hoped to elicit. You'll make Christmas for Rowen, now, with your special touches!

  2. i loved reading this sheila, it made me think of my own childhood memories i am not sure when i stopped believing santa but i am thinking perhaps when my father who was dressed like him got stuck on the balcony and had to call for help:)

    it profoundly touched me when you said that you were sad when your brother stopped believing, i fully understand and felt what you meant.

    I dream of what it would be like to have my own children wake up christmas morning, kevin memories are so vivid i believe he will make it a wonderful christmas for his children one day.

    i love that i too now can read your mums take on things it lovely to have this window into both your memories.

  3. I stopped believing in Santa the year he gave me floral print shorts when clearly, I asked for a batgirl! ;-)
    I think Christmas morning is such a spirited time of the year!

    Blessings to you and your family!


  4. Nadia, "Santa" trapped on the balcony is a story that you must tell!!!! And Cherry, who could blame you for wishing you got batgirl over floral shorts? I was never into Batgirl, but I was WAY into She-Ra.
    Mom, you and Dad made Christmas so magical and we can't wait to do the same for Rowen.
    Thanks to all for reading and commenting! xoxo

  5. I recall the magic of Christmas mornings too and you describe it so well - the anticipation, the wonder, the thrill.... Having younger siblings extended it somehow because even when I knew Santa wasn't real, keeping him alive for them made it magic all over again. And now I feel that wonder through the eyes of my niece and nephews... it's beautiful! I think magic should be created and fostered in lives wherever and whenever we can. How lovely to have all that to look forward to with Rowen...

    Wishing you a very lovely New Year too. May 2011 bring you and your family more magic and joy - great big dollops of joy! All year. K xox