Now that Thanksgiving is just a week away, it’s clear that Christmas is nearly upon us. I’ve spent the past couple weeks furiously planning for our first Christmas with Azita. Growing up in a Muslim, Iranian household, Christmas wasn’t exactly a big event in my childhood. It’s unfortunate, because I had Christmas spirit to spare. I was one of those kids who really believed in Santa Clause. I mean I really, really believed. Until I was 9. Yes, I said 9. As in, I stayed up all night by the fireplace, even though we didn’t have a tree, and waited for Santa Clause to drop down the chimney. I was that sure that he existed.
Prior to that year, we did have a tree and had our own version of a Christmas celebration. The year I turned 9, however, my mom broke the news that we would not be celebrating Christmas that year because we were old enough to understand that we were not Christian nor American and therefore did not celebrate Anglo, Christian holidays. Still, I believed Santa would know that I was waiting for him and would reward my faith. Santa Clause of course never came.
Later on due to some comments from some of my classmates I realized I had fallen victim to a sham. The lie was illuminated as it is for every child at some point or another.
I refuse to see any of these events as a tragedy, however. I see them for what they are. Magic. Santa Clause is magic. The Easter Bunny is magic. The Tooth Fairy is magic. I believed in all of them, and in a childhood that was fraught with a lot of things that were not so magical, I needed all of them. It was a wonderful thing to believe in things that were so good and sweet and special. They gave me something to look forward to, even if they didn’t always come through. They were a small piece of the richly imaginative world where I spent a good deal of my time — a world populated not only with these mythical creatures, but with characters from storybooks and whimsical landscapes created by yours truly.
I still believe in Santa Clause. I believe in what he can do for children, no matter what their station in life. My youngest sister is a very different person from me. She not only doesn’t believe in Santa Clause; she believes that it is practically criminal to allow one’s child to believe in him. My nephew was the kid who walked into his first grade classroom and broke the news to his classmates. That makes me so incredibly sad, because he really needs Santa Clause for many of the same reasons I did. My sister’s point of view is that a mother is lying to her children if she tells them Santa exists. My point of view is that a mother is imagining with her children.
Azita will never experience some of the not-so-happy possibilities that were very real for my childhood. I am determined that this will be the case. Even so, I am certain that Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy and even the Easter Bunny will play an important part in her early years and will spark her imagination as they did for me.
So, there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that this year would be the first of many years when Azita would visit the mall for a photo with the jolly guy in the red fuzzy suit. And, I have to say, from the expression on her face it’s pretty clear that she’s going to love him as much as I did and still do.
P.S. Bonus points, and maybe a little prize, for the first person to figure out the little bit of Christmas movie trivia in the title of this post. What movie(s) does the post come from? Anyone? Anyone?
P.P.S. Full disclosure that the movie(s) are likely very, very cheesy, but I will watch any Christmas movie. ANY. I’ve even watched some on such channels as Hallmark or Lifetime. Yes. I have surely been taken down many notches in your esteem, and if not now, I am sure I will at some point in the near future. Amen.