The turkey and stuffing have barely had the chance to digest before the eggnog lattes are already claiming their territory. The holiday season is officially here, and with it comes a multitude of festive spirits.
Parents are scrounging for the best holiday deals, storeowners are attempting every tactic in the book to bring in as much profit as the season will allow and children are on their toes awaiting the one feature of Christmas that is so easily forgotten by the older generations: good old St. Nick.
Considering the variety of beliefs in our society, the holidays are celebrated both with and without Santa Claus. If he is included, we must keep in mind that Santa is incapable of leaving that lasting Christmas spirit in the hearts of many with his efforts alone. Our decorations, storytelling and holiday traditions are essential to bring him back to life every year.
I vividly remember the indestructible desire for a magic carpet, along with the evolution of my doubts for Santa, all acquired during my eighth year.
Being a skeptical child, I required proof as answers to my questions. I was not going to receive these answers from my parents and, although I would appreciate this in the future, it did not quite satisfy me at the time.
I took my desire for a magical feature in a Disney movie and my uncertainties toward Santa and secretly plotted a foolproof method of to reveal the truth, or so I thought.
Taking my time in creating a quite lengthy list, stating my requests from Santa, I came to the conclusion that if he could throw together a magic carpet in the first place, he must be the real deal. This was my first tactic.
At the end of my list, I demanded a specific picture of one of Santa’s infamous elves; something only the man himself could obtain. Little 8-year-old me was committed to the idea that if I received a picture of an elf on Christmas morning, I would possess the evidence of the century. Leaving my request on the table next to the cookies and milk on Christmas Eve, I went to bed feeling like a genius.
A few of my mother’s handy computer skills later, I woke up to a picture of an elf printed on decorated computer paper, and a detailed letter explaining that Santa’s workshop was fresh out of magic carpets.
It made for a couple extra years of hope, but eventually my siblings and I came clean. Santa would always remain in our hearts, but we’d moved on.
I always considered myself particularly lucky, being that my mother, father and older brother (after a few years) devoted the month of December to making the Christmas season seem as authentic as possible for my sister and I.
Whether it was my brother being forced outside at midnight to shake a bracelet full of jingle bells near my bedroom window, my father enjoying a few cookies and carrots for the reindeer before bed or my mother printing off a picture of an elf, the simple idea of the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop had been ingrained in my mind. I am grateful for this, along with the understanding of why it is highly important for us as the next generation to continue with these traditions.
It has become apparent to me that although an impression of the Christmas spirit may have been established by my family, it will be my responsibility to nurture it in the future. This is a lesson that many should indulge in.
The holiday magic is not exclusively for children, and many of us have allowed this way of thinking to become a habitual part of growing up, along with permitting gifts as the only valuable aspect of Christmas. Just because Santa has been slightly discounted from our minds does not necessarily mean that the beauty behind the holiday has been dissolved.
Let us always remember that dreamlike feeling of awaking on Christmas morning, regardless of specific family customs. Dispersing this festive image to others is an easy tactic to keep the holiday spirit alive.
The lasting impressions of Christmas memories and traditions have a tendency to disregard any and all Christmas presents in the long run. Fortunately, new memories can always be made, and the holiday season is the perfect time to do so.
Maddison Cervantes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @madcervantes.