Saturday, December 19, 2009
Today we went to see the real Santa.
I know that some folks will only go to a Santa who looks real. In late October they dress their children in their Christmas outfits and march them to the mall like little soldiers to get the perfect picture of their children with the perfect Santa so that they can use this photo as their Christmas card.
It bothers me a bit.
I do not believe in Santa as a prop for a photo opportunity.
I probably just lost twenty-five readers with that statement.
Sometimes you've got to be edgy and just tell the truth.
When Rebecca was a toddler I took her to a perfect Santa. Sure he looked perfect, but he did not have the soul of Santa. He didn't ask questions. He just smiled for the camera and handed her a candy cane.
There was no magic and if there in no magic then there is no Christmas.
For a number of years we didn't really bother with visiting Santa. Then we wandered into Seasons Four in Lexington about five years ago.
Santa is there on the weekends. He sits in a little pavilion and the children visit him. There is no charge for a picture, there is no photographer for that matter. There is no fee to visit with Santa or to take a picture with him, though he accepts donations to the local food pantry. Mostly he just sits and chats with the kids.
Rebecca and Lily were very excited to see him. Lily wanted to wear a pretty dress and fluffy coat. I think she was trying to distract him from some of her naughtier moments this year.
Once the girls were settled in next to him he asked them if they were still living in the same house or if he needed to change the address on his list. He wanted to know if we had dogs so that he could be sure to bring dog treats for them. What town do we live in, he wanted to know and then told us the exact time that it would be sunrise on Christmas and warned the girls not to peek until then. He told them all about the elves who take care of the reindeer and what sorts of snacks they prefer. He told us that the power at the north pole used to be generated from all of the coal that was used for the eyes and buttons of snowmen, but that now they use wind power since it's always so windy.
This is why we love the real Santa.
It's all the details, the small and important logistical details that cast a Christmas spell over my girls who are both hard core believers.
We are now in the last days before Christmas. They are tucked in bed and should be sleeping but keep peeking out the window to see if the snowstorm has hit yet.
They are all hope and magic, unmarred by cynicism. If I have done nothing else right, I know that I have given them this gift, this ability to immerse oneself in a dream and believe in the glittery possibility of tomorrow.
Let it snow!