If you are just starting your family, I am going to give you the best present ever! 😉
Our First Christmas
A long, long time ago, (ok, it was 13 years ago…not THAT long ago, but it sure feels like it!) we were waiting in line with my first born to see Santa for the very first time. She was decked out in a perfectly plaid Christmas dress from Janie and Jack, with her perfect white stockings and her perfect black patent leather mary jane shoes. We had waited so long to have this child and now we got to do “all the things” like pay a visit to the big guy: Santa Claus!
Our daughter, Jillian, was born in June, which made her 6 months in December, the perfect age for smiles, to not be scared, and to trust all of those around you. On this Christmas eve, she had her entourage of parents and grandparents with her that morning. No one wanted to miss this momentous event. Her Mimi had already scoped out the Santa weeks before saying, “Oh he’s a good one!”
We got in line first thing in the morning at Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, California. As we made our way to the back of the already growing line, we noticed in front of us was a middle-aged lady waiting all by herself. Kind of odd. But as we stood in line for soooo many minutes together, we struck up a conversation.
A New Tradition
We found out this lady had kids that were of college age and were home for the holidays. Ever since they were “…the age of your daughter”, they have always visited Santa, no excuses. “They are somewhere in the mall right now…” but would join us in line shortly. She shared that every year she frames the photo with Santa and displays them around their holiday home. She was admiring our little girl and reminisced with us about when her kids were that age. How special and magical it is to hear them talk to Santa, sharing their wishes and receiving a candy cane from the big man. “But the BEST photos are when they are about 2 years old. When they totally scream and cry and are terrified of Santa! Those are the BEST! Oh, and we still framed those photos too and put them on display every year. Those are better than all of the perfect, smiling ones.”
And they truly are.
Thank You, Middle-aged Lady
I am so thankful for that lady in line. The one I admire for having raised kids that were still willing to sit on Santa’s lap even now that they are old enough to order a martini at a bar. They are still willing to wait in line, sit on Santa’s lap and capture that moment in time when they still have the Christmas spirit…all for their mom. (Anyone teary-eyed right now?! Cuz this middle aged lady is!!!)
My Gift To YOU!
This tradition is my gift to you, my young friend who may not have kids yet or are just starting your family. Have your kids sit on Santa’s lap every year. Have them share their wishes and share in the magic of Christmas. And best of all, frame those photos* to bring out and display every year to remember the different ages, the goofy smiles, the sweet smiles, the crying faces, …all of them! Because those photos truly capture a moment in time that you can never get back.
*I framed all our photos in white frames. You can do all white, all silver, whatever your preference, but as a designer, I would recommend sticking to one palette.
Now, as my kids sit down on Santa’s lap this year, knowing that under that beard is really their Papa (a very Covid-safe Santa helper), I will forever remember and thank that lady in line that gave us one of our absolute best holiday traditions.
Happy Holidays, my friend! May you find the true spirit of Christmas this crazy pandemic year.