I realized last night, when I was going through a stack of photos that I had found on the bookshelf, that the majority of my Christmas memories are connected with my children rather than with my childhood. I have to really dig deep to remember holidays from when I was younger or in my teens, but the ones after becoming a mother spring to mind immediately. Just how my mind works I suppose, but it is easier that way.
This photograph is one of a few that I still have of the kids with Santa. They have been fortunate to have had some good Santas come in and out of their lives through the years; uncles, grandfather, neighbours and the hired ones. When I look at this photo I can see the delight in their eyes (and am grateful it was not abject terror that I inflicted on them by taking them to see old St. Nick in the mall or wherever this happened to be). They added to the magic that Christmas held for the two of them, and that is all that really mattered to me at that time. It is easy to be cynical about the commercialization of Christmas, but in the end, I preferred (and still do) to focus on what we could create as a family together for Christmas, rather than get caught up in criticizing (although I will be honest, Christmas decorations in stores in September/ October is hideous) too much. We have kept our Christmas traditions cozy and personal, and as they get older they have become just as excited if not more, about giving than about getting.
This time of year is about hoping and dreaming. I am grateful that my children have felt free to do that each time Christmas rolls around. I am also grateful that they have never asked for a pony.