It’s that time of year again. Christmas is just around the corner - full of magic and awe and wonder.
Make-believe drips like ooey-gooey chocolate, down a cup of steamy hot cocoa topped with a peppermint stick.
She giggles as her sweet little pudgy toes peek out from the deliciously warm out-of-the-dryer jammies and slide into fluffy clouds that slip across the floor when she walks. Diving into the pillow-full bed nest, she snuggles in-between mom and dad. Leaning on daddy’s chest, she looks at the pictures and listens as mommy reads,
“Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store." "Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!"
Her sleepy eyelids get heavier and heavier until they finally close to visions of sugarplums and grammie visiting and presents and all the good things that are coming tomorrow.
“What’s that? What IS that? Mommmmmmmy!!! He’s here! He’s here! I hear the bells”. “Quick, put the cookies on his plate!”
We scramble around giggling and sliding in our fluffy socks to be sure Rudolph’s reindeer food is in its very own bowl next to Santa’s plate of cookies and milk. Running down the hall, squealing with delight, she rounds the corner and dives into bed. Tuck her in, like a baby burrito and move a single curl off her face to kiss her forehead.
“Goodnight, sweet girl. Get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be wonderful.”
Do you remember that feeling? That joy and excitement?
Will he eat the cookies? What if I sneak just one peek? How could I possibly fall asleep with all of this magic in the air?!
Everyone wants to add a little bit of magic to their kids’ childhood memories...but it can be overwhelming, all-consuming, ineffective, and dare we say downright ummm...unethical?
I’ve thought quite a bit about that over the years. Is it lying to my kids? It IS totally lying, right? But is it okay to lie to them about this? It’s definitely the cultural norm, but it doesn’t have to be your family norm. We were never a big Santa family, but we dabbled in other make-believe traditions like the Tooth Fairy and Leprechauns.
We always looked at adding these little bits of magic to our boys’ childhood as a way to encourage imagination, inspire wonder, and make memories.
The great part is, you get to decide what works the very best for your family. You don’t have to follow the crowd, not even a little bit. Figure out which make-believe things work in your little kingdom and welcome them with a big family embrace.
Make-believe is powerful - but use your power wisely. Be sure to make it fun for you, too.
Christmas can be amazing and wonderful and overwhelming and make you question just about all of your parenting know-how just to get through it.
Playing in the land of Christmas make-believe and wielding that ultra-powerful holiday magic doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s all about how you embrace the magic.
There are really only five things you need to keep in mind when whipping up a bit of magic in your house this Christmas.
- You don’t need to buy anything! In fact, making it from your own imagination is a big part of the magic, isn’t it?
- A bite out of the cookies & an empty glass of milk on Christmas morning. MAGIC
- Little sparkly elf footprints from the chimney to the Christmas tree? MAGIC
- Don’t have glitter? Hate putting more bits of plastic into the world? Use flour from the kitchen & say he must have been baking cookies at the North Pole. Sugar can be sparkly too!
- Jingling bells outside the bedroom window on Christmas Eve? MAGIC
- Think of it as a childhood memory-builder - like the little piece of dust in the atmosphere that water molecules attach to. You plant the tiny seed, and it snowballs into beautiful stories that they will smile about for years to come.
- I asked my boys if they remembered the bells outside the bedroom window, and even my now giganto teenagers spilled out memory after memory attached to those little bells...sneaking a Santa cookie while everyone slept, decorating the tree with their very favorite ornaments, cinnamony cider simmering on the stove…
- Choose a few pieces of magic memory dust, and surround them with love and family and simple joys.
- Make your own make-believe, and let it be unique to your family personality. Your magic has to match your family, after all.
- Do you have pets? Make their Christmas a part of the magic.
- Do you hate cooking but love getting outside? Find an ice skating rink or go hunting for your own Christmas tree to cut down.
- Pick and choose - there is such a thing as too much magic. Include the things you love and leave the rest, I promise, you don’t need to do all...the...things. Even one little bit of magic will encourage and create memories.
- Write a list of the things you would love to do...then get rid of half. At least.
- Have an exit strategy - think of it as an imagination nurturing exercise and be ready for them when they come to you with questions so that the magic grows into fond memories as they grow.
- “Now you get to be a magic maker! Think of 3 ways you can spread magic for others this year, and we’ll make that your new tradition”
- Make a scrapbook of all of the magic that has been made for them with them - help them see the love in each of those make-believe traditions.
- Because it doesn’t need to end when they are old enough to question a flying sleigh...it’s just beginning!
The key is to remember that it should be fun for all of you and rooted in joy - not in a sense of expectation and perfection.
If the thought of hiding the Elf on the Shelf every night gives you hives, ditch it! If baking cookies with your kids to leave for Santa makes you smile - embrace it. Christmas should be about what brings you all joy.
Stick with with the magic that you love, after all, you’re making your own memories too, right?
What is your most magical memory? From your childhood or your kids’? Mine is the look on the boys’ faces when they heard the jingle bells outside the window on Christmas Eve. So precious! My hubby even threw a ball up on the roof that bounced down, so it sounded like someone walking. They were SO excited!!
Embrace what brings your family all the joy. That’s the fun bit.
Wishing you the most magical Christmas,