Christmas Magic

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So, I may be no-fun, but I don’t really like the whole Santa thing. When I was a child, Santa did not visit our house, and my extended family firmly believed in only celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25th.

That is what my own little family celebrates as well, and I don’t like the idea of telling Amelia that Santa actually came when he did not. I believe honesty is the best policy. That said, I never want to be responsible for a child losing their Santa beliefs before it’s their time.

So I have never told Amelia that Santa doesn’t exist. I have said that he never came to my house, and that I have never seen him before. When she asks me pointed questions, I usually just ask her what she thinks.
She wants to believe.

In Germany, she was introduced to Nikolaus, which is kind of a different form of Santa. Much less jolly, more severe, with religious implications. We went for it, since it’s part of the Christmas culture in Germany. Plus, Amelia spoke more Deutsch than we did by Christmas time last year, so we didn’t even have the language to say much about it– she learned all about Nikolaus in school.

In England, it’s Father Christmas. And since October, Father Christmas has been talked about non-stop. Amelia came home every day with more detailed information on the fellow. Lots of specifics. She was horrified when I told her I would be stuffing her stocking, and begged me not to do it, since that’s Father Christmas’s job. Maybe I’m just stubborn, but I don’t like some imaginary person getting the credit for all the work I put into Christmas gifts. I told her that I really like putting presents in her stocking, and so I would make a deal with Father Christmas that he could leave her little gifts instead.

In public this whole last month, it seemed that every single adult we encountered asked Amelia about Father Christmas coming. It was clear that she was conflicted: she didn’t know if he would actually come, since he never had before. People were horrified to hear that I was going to be putting Christmas presents in her stocking (you see, it was too late– I had already slipped some in, and Amelia knew!) and gave me strange looks when I explained my deal with F.C. Not only had I never done this before, but the details are very different here than in the States.

On Christmas Eve, Amelia wrote out her list for Father Christmas. In her brand-new, crooked handwriting, she wrote:

Dear Father Christmas,
I like you.
Please I would like a clementine and
a chocolate coin.
Love Amelia
Her requests were so small, so easy, so sweet. She had heard it was traditional for Father Christmas to give her a clementine. She was very clear on what needed to be done in return:  Father Christmas loves mince pie and sherry. She had been reminding us for a week to buy the sherry. Since she’s allergic to gluten, we got him a gluten-free Christmas cake, which Amelia thought he would still enjoy. We set out the sherry, and put her letter next to the plate. Amelia also put out a dish of water and a carrot for his reindeer.
The next morning was so much fun. She could not believe he had actually come! She kept saying it over and over again, told me she didn’t know if he would, but HE DID. He had left her a chocolate Nikolaus, a clementine, and a head band. She shook her head and said, “Father Christmas– it’s too much!”  This was the most fun we have ever had on Christmas. We will try to keep the magic alive as long as we can.

Hope your Christmas was magical!


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17 Responses to Christmas Magic

  1. Marc and Suzanne December 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Some of our most precious treasures are the letters our three kids wrote to Santa… And he always answered them; they loved the shaky handwriting of his answers. :)He always “consumed” the cookies (they usually went back into the cookie jars :)) and milk they put out (sometimes he’d leave a half-eaten cookie if they put out too many). I think this is the first year that by tacit agreement, “Santa” retired and everyone had a share in filling the stockings. Our oldest is now 32! (Maybe it’s because she is now playing Santa for her two?)

  2. Jenny December 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    This is just so very sweet. I love that she was overwhelmed with her gifts. Just precious! Merry Christmas.

  3. ShackelMom December 29, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    I think you cut a very good deal with Father Christmas! 🙂 Sounds like it was such a fun morning!

  4. Grandma Seelye December 30, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    Thanks for sharing the whole story! I loved the video of her telling it. Very sweet.

  5. Ed December 30, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    You are a great story teller!

  6. henzy January 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    We all have our beliefs and it is great that you found a way to follow yours without confusing her or breaking her heart.
    We don’t celebrate Christmas and right now my boy is too young to understand but there will be a day when he will wonder why we don’t buy a tree and why he doesn’t get presents when everyone else does.. and I wait to see how we will handle the situation. Hopefully as gracefully as you.
    Happy New Year

  7. Ariana January 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Henzy– Happy New Year to you, too. Thanks for your nice comment. I thought a lot about families that do not celebrate Christmas at all, since in my daughter’s school the holiday was the subject of many lessons. It seemed like their whole day revolved around Christmas throughout December, and this is not a private school. I’m sure it will be a challenge in the future, but I am hopeful that there might be more people in your son’s school that share your beliefs, to make it a little easier.

  8. barefoot mama January 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    She looks so truly happy…love that beautiful smile!

  9. Susanna November 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Hi Ariana, love the post and your Christmas Magic! Did you want this to be an entry for the #O2GuruMagicofXmas? I just need to to follow the “how to enter” here, thnx!

  10. Elaine Livingstone December 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    yes we bake allergy free for the elves, as so many people have allergies I sure some of the elves must.Quite interesting how other countries deal with differing beliefs and ways

  11. Iota December 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Came here from the blog hop. Totally agree about Santa. I never wanted my children to find out and be sad. So I walked a middle road. I didn’t have them truly believe, but always allowed enough mystery around the subject to make it exciting. Like your daughter, they all wanted to believe, and to some extent did.

  12. kateonthinice December 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    A magical smile for sure. Thanks for joining in. Commenting on behalf of BritMums

  13. **8Milton December 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    As a child, I loved Santa, fairies, my dolls, and at 65 years of age I still cannot pick up my 64 year old elephant without giving him a little hug. Phantasy is a mode of expression. As my dear friend, Mary Taylor, once said to me regarding my passion for reading history and biographies, “Susan, you can learn a great deal from a good novel.” There is room for all things beautiful, true and edifying to be expressed through the vehicle of phantasy.


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