Photo: Ohhhhh, it’s about to get poppin’ around here! First Christmas-related item to get to the house! Yesss!!! Get pumped!
I wrote last year about Santa Claus and how I believe that his race is “magic” and that he just so happens to have always been Black at my house. My mother has a beautiful collection of Black Santas, and I’ve always coveted them. I’ve been greatly anticipating the first year when Christmas would “matter” to Ursa Major and the season would click for him in the magical way that it does for children. I think that there is a really special (and teeny tiny) window when Christmas is just about magic and wishes, and isn’t purely about toys, and isn’t quite religiously serious yet… it’s a special time when everyone is happy, everyone gets together, houses are dressed up, stars come down to twinkle in the trees and bushes… and for about a month, merriment reigns above all.
Finally, Ursa Major has stepped into that window. He’s been talking about Santa for about a week now. We have gone over all of the basics: where the North Pole is located, who lives there, what happens there, how Santa gets around, how he keeps his list… it’s excellent. I’ve been pestering to the family down South to find me a Black elf-on-the-shelf because really do want to have Santa and his people reflected as of-color at home. I told Mom, who sent us our helper (I haven’t named him yet… anyone got a suggestion?) over the phone that Santa is going to be white in most of the rest of the universe for the boys, so it’s important to me that he be Black here.
I know that this isn’t everyone’s season, but it’s prime time for me: cooking? hosting? decorating? listening to and telling stories? indulging in the best that you can find? spending a little time in much-missed locales? Oh yes, I live for this. There is the added element of the house and all of the things that Christmas and this house means. It means we get to set a standard for what “Christmas at the house” looks like. It means our first ever real Christmas Tree since we moved to Massachusetts. I can smell it now. I can’t wait. It means receiving the next recipe to be handed down to me: the family egg nog recipe. Oh the trouble that will come of that!
And it means the beginning of legend. The introduction of the elf-on-the-shelf, Santa, the North Pole, and the “magic” of being a good little boy or girl. And Santa is kinda the ground floor of this sort of thing. If you can believe in Santa, you can believe in wizards, trolls, giants, witches, knights, princesses, dragons soaring through the air, rabbits and chipmunks who can talk… you can hear a story and know in your heart that magic is real. In your heart, not in your head. And I think that’s important because the brain has a great talent for getting in the way of things. Not all things. But many things. I feel incredibly responsible for this legend in the life of my children. I believe that it is a protected thing, that it must be guarded and kept for as long as possible. I remember being well beyond my Santa years and still hearing my Father, with great vigor, defend the existence of Santa and his tenants of goodness. I appreciate that he honored that for a long as he could.
And because my parents honored that, and filled my childhood with other legends, and let me read sci-fi and fantasy novels long into the night when I was younger, I’m 30 and I believe in magic. Not the bippity-boppity-boo stuff of childhood, but the sensation of smallness that comes when you consider how small you are in the grand scheme of time and space and all of the lucky little things that had to happen to get you here. I believe in forces more powerful than myself or anyone I know. I believe in some superstitions: I find myself knocking on wood often, or never speaking ill of the dead, or throwing salt over my shoulder. It drives my husband crazy when I tell him not to jinx something. I feel my great-grandmother’s presence sometimes when I walk past her vanity mirror. I am pretty sure that I believe in fate and that I don’t have control over where I will end up (though this is an ongoing to debate that I’m having with myself). I believe that I will never have a full understanding of the world and its function because there is too much of it that can never be seen, never been known. Who knows? In the moments when I really am willing to let my mind indulge in whimsy, I imagine that the fox who lives under the barn loves to dance in the winter moonlight among the sparkling dew-kissed grass.
This allows my heart and my mind to be surprised from time to time. It allows for the otherwise overlooked or insignificant to become glorious because it is unexpected. It allows for sometimes silly behavior, or tolerance when it is performed by others, and for a relaxed look at the world because, well, what is the world without a little whimsy? And what is boyhood without that, too? I want my boys to know more than this world. I want them to know the North Pole. I want them to know Middle Earth. I might let them know the universes of both Star Wars and Star Trek (Am I the Trekkie who married the Star Wars dude. How did that happen? That never freaking happens!). I want the worlds to be beautiful and terrible, and for the lessons to flow between them, and for the boys to feel like they are welcome to explore all of them and wonder about them. There is great benefit to that exploration, and I can’t wait to be part of it (and play, a little bit, myself!). If nothing else, the blog will have a bunch of silly pictures of an elf placed in funky places around my house.
Speaking of elves and the work that they do, did I get up at 5 and write this morning? Nope. You know why? I was making breakfast burritos. Two kinds, because I’m a champ. Yes I made my own tortillas! Did you have any doubt? 24 servings for the Father’s breakfast. Sausage, egg and cheese or bacon, sauted veggies, and cheese because I’m a warrior.
The entire tray was empty within 15 minutes. Insane!
What should I wish for you, dear reader, on this chilly November Friday? Should I wish, perhaps, for warmth for you? In the form of a heavy coat, your favorite from last season, ready and waiting for you, well loved and still looking great. I wish you warmth in the form of a good set of gloves, given to you by someone who loves you and knows that you need them more than whatever else in the world you desire. I wish you warmth in the form of a good pair of shoes, the kind that let you wander in the world to see the last of the color fading and the beauty of bare branches. I wish you warmth in the form of an excellent stew, slowly simmered for many hours in an oven that’s been on all day. Bonus points if a good, good wine is used to support the broth. I wish you warmth in the form of many blankets atop you as you read a good book. I wish you warmth in the form of a wish, made on the first star you see tonight, made because you know in your heart that it very well may come true. And, of course, warmth in the knowledge that you are deeply loved, near and far, known and unknown and that you are worthy of that love.
Until Monday, take care.
(Oh hey, I also really like flower arranging. Cute, yes? Don’t judge me just because I’m good at the girly arts!)