Sunday, December 17, 2006
The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings this week is anticipation. And given that it's the Christmas season and my son is hounding me to open "just one package, mama," it seemed like a good idea to write about the anticipation of Christmas.
When I was a child, the month of December was sweet torture. Slowly, the days passed. My sister and I would endlessly look over the Sears catalog toy pages, dreaming of what Santa would bring. And as we opened the boxes on our advent calendar we could count ourselves closer to the big day. We'd decorate the Christmas tree and then watch as packages magically appeared under it. The whole month was about anticipation.
Christmas Eve was the best and the worst combined: Santa was close at hand but the minutes of the day would slowly tick by. We'd often spend that night with our cousins Aaron and Brian and when the time for bed finally came, we'd lie in our sleeping bags too excited to sleep. It would take forever to drift off and I can still hear my mother saying, "the sooner you sleep, the sooner Santa will arrive." And yet sleep was most elusive that night.
The next morning brought the reward for all that waiting. Santa had been at our house! The presents were set out and there was the anticipation of the stocking yet to come. As a little girl, I believed in Santa with all of my heart and even when the truth was revealed (thanks, McCalls magazine), I protected the secret.
As an adult and now a parent, I see exactly why the anticipation of Santa was so magical. For me, nothing re-creates that childhood happiness like preparing for Christmas Eve. All month long, I store away little Santa treats for my son, just waiting for that happy moment when we come downstairs to find the presents left by Santa. JT's anticipation is great and I'll admit that I stoke the fires. I want to give back to him the childhood magic that I once anticipated.
So the presents are appearing under the tree and we've written Santa a letter. Mama has squirreled away the perfect treats for tucking into a boy's stocking. We'll watch the NORAD Santa tracker on Christmas Eve and we will set out cookies for Santa and reindeer food as well. And for that night I will believe again.
I can't wait.