Somehow, Christmas is approaching faster this year than any previous year in my memory. It’s probably because I have more to do, but I still miss the magic feeling-I’ve had small glimmers of it here and there, but really, I’m feeling like I’m in a whirlwind.
We’ve got our tree up, the house is decorated, presents are purchased, and that damn Elf on the Shelf keeps moving right along to different spots in the house. There hadn’t been any giving or charity on my part yet and I knew that was what was missing. I was looking for some charitable giving to do, when my friend Lauren posted about helping out a Syrian Refugee group. I quickly set a time to meet her with some warm clothes that the kids had outgrown, and one evening, the kids and I drove to give her the items. She was then going to deliver them and package them up with another woman in the area who has this whole organization going. After we left her, Harrison queried as to why I was giving away all of his clothes.
“They’re the ones you’ve outgrown, honey. I didn’t give away the clothes that fit you. Besides, there are some people in this world who need our help, and it’s nice to give them things that we don’t need anymore. You might want to think about giving away some of the toys you don’t play with anymore. That would be very kind.”
“But Mom,” he replied, “Santa will take care of all that stuff for those people.”
Time stopped right then. All the whirling and hustling of the season came to a screeching halt.
How do you explain to a three year old that Santa can’t visit everyone? That he DOESN’T visit everyone? If you didn’t know, fairness is a big theme in the life of a toddler, and to realize this injustice would definitely wreck his world. I didn’t know how to explain it, and I am glad I didn’t have a good solid answer for him because after I thought about it for a minute, it was clear to me. Christmas was clear to me. And it doesn’t necessarily always need a solid answer. Things that are real have solid answers. Things that are really magic do not.
There it was: the pure innocence and unwavering belief that there is SOMEONE out there who can provide for everyone, even if just once a year. And why wouldn’t he think that? It makes perfect sense in the eyes of a three year old. This, to me, is what magic is. For little ones it’s the belief that life could be so simply easy. For those of us who do the helping and providing this time of year, this is where our magic comes in too. My life slowed down and my magic turned on right then. I had real work to do from that point forward. Now, I am not worried about making sure the pile beneath the tree is big enough (and my Amazon bill says it’s plenty big anyway), but my job instead is to show my children the special feeling you get when you GIVE. To show them the smiles on people’s faces when they receive. To provide them opportunities to be selfless and caring and nonjudgmental. They don’t need to know that Santa can’t visit everyone. What they need to know is that they can share in his magic.
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