My daughter was home from college and helping me pick out some last minute gifts for my wife. We each noticed the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers and then we saw the line. It weaved up and down a long hallway and seemed to go on forever. The line was filled with nervous parents and excited children. It looked pretty long and I was thankful I didn’t have to wait in it. I am not known for my patience and there are two things that make me crazy during the holidays. Those things are heavy traffic and long lines.
The line was at least forty five minutes long. I asked my daughter if she wanted to get in it so she could meet Santa Claus. My daughter looked at me as if I had suggested she walk on hot coals. “Really Dad” she blurted out. I was joking of course, as my daughter is twenty one years old, but a part of me wished I was Marty McFly and could go back in time. Seeing the little girls waiting in the line with their green velvet dresses, red hair bows and big smiles made me long for the days when my daughter was a small child and waited to see Santa Claus. When my daughter was a little girl the line was just as long, in fact it might have been longer but I never minded.
From the year she was born until she was eight we waited in the line and each year it seemed to move as quickly as Santa moves on Christmas Eve when he delivers gifts.
The line moved quickly because the only thing my wife and I noticed back then was my daughter’s joy as she was about to meet Santa Claus. Marissa’s blue eyes would glisten with excitement as she would tell us what she was going to say to Santa. Her expressions were priceless when she spotted the over sized candy canes, giant wrapped boxes, gingerbread men, elves and decorated trees that surrounded Santa’s big gold chair. She became more animated and excited when she spotted Santa himself and knew her turn to meet him was just minutes away. The ability to see Christmas through our child’s eyes gave us so much pleasure that we never thought about the line or how long it was.
When my daughter and I got home from shopping, I turned on the tree lights and put my wife’s gifts in their usual hiding spot. Then I sat down and thought about Christmas time and I came to an important conclusion.
Christmas isn’t about cookies, gifts, fancy trees and finding the perfect Ugly Sweater.
Christmas is about children. It’s not only about the joy they experience, but it’s about the joy they give back. Christmas is one of those special times a year when we adults get to see things through a child’s eyes and we have a chance to become kid’s again ourselves. Christmas is the time of year when our children teach us about love.
It turns out that thanks to our kids the line to meet Santa Claus doesn’t last long at all. I’ve also come to realize that neither does childhood. That’s why it’s important to enjoy every Christmas you get with your kids. Seeing the joy of Christmas through your child’s eyes and receiving the love they share with you is the best gift you will ever get. It’s a gift you’ll remember forever!