Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prince of the Dolls.

We all have certain "things" that remind us of the holidays.  Some people say clementines taste like Christmas.  Some people may say that ginger bread cookies fresh from the oven smell like Christmas.  We've been gathering memories for years associated with this time of the year.  There is something that, for me, is Christmas.  

The Nutcracker Prince.  The cartoon from 1990.  I became completed obsessed with this movie and have watched it countless numbers of times.  When I was little, I wanted so much to be Clara and to fall in love with The Nutcracker Prince, like her.  I had my very own wooden Nutcracker Prince doll that I envisioned coming to life as soon as I fell asleep.  I treated him with as much care and love as Clara did.  

I remember the Christmas when I was nine years old.  All I wanted was ballet slippers - just like the ones Clara unwrapped on Christmas Eve.  I was never so excited when I unwrapped them.  I ran into my parents' room - waking them up - showing them what Santa had brought me.  I slipped my feet into them and danced to The Nutcracker Prince soundtrack. I wore them everywhere; Eventually, through the years, they turned rugged and torn and were much too small for me, but I still tried to squeeze my feet into them.  I was terribly sad when my pink ballet slippers were thrown out.

Sometimes, it's hard to get into the Christmas mood for whatever reason.  I remember the year my sister couldn't come home for the holidays - it didn't feel like Christmas at all.  Sometimes, all you have to do is take a bite of a clementine, smell cookies baking, or watch an old movie to snap you back into the spirit again,

I only wish I had pink ballet slippers to dance in.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas is for Children

Do you remember when you stopped believing in Santa Claus?  Did the magic of Christmas fade a little bit?  Christmas Eve was your most favorite memory where you would anxiously lay in bed, hurrying to sleep so you could wake to a tree full of presents; however, the more you thought about it, the farther from sleep you traveled.  Did that excitement and anticipation grow dull as you got older?

I don't think it did for me and my family.  My sister is 34, my brother is 27, and I am 22 (well, almost).  We still go through the same Christmas routine like we did when we were fifteen years younger.  My sister and I stay up Christmas Eve, watching Christmas specials that are taped on a video cassette tape.  Then we watch The Nutcracker Prince while sipping on hot chocolate.  Mum, busily wrapping presents, hands them off to us to Jenga-style stack them under the tree.  We write a letter for Santa and leave him a snack.  My sister and I have a sleepover in her room where we brush eachother's hair and play card games.  We say our prayers and eventually fall into a sleepless dream.  

I wake up and go out in the living room to see the tree exploding with presents, the stockings filled and Santa's responding letter.  I'm allowed to open one gift... but it has to be from Santa.  I do, but not before I grab my stocking and empty its contents on the floor.  My sister wakes up and comes out after me.  She looks through her stocking and opens up her one gift.  We're anxiously waiting for our parents to wake up so we can finish destroying the tree's contents.  My brother wakes up and joins us.  After three or four trips into Mum's and Dad's room, they finally come out.  Dad starts making breakfast.  I can smell and hear the sizzle of the bacon from the kitchen as my mother points out "the bow bag", "the wrapping paper bag" and "the tissue bag", instructing us to put the reusable goods in its proper bag.

It's mostly the same today - only slightly different now that my sister is married and has a baby.  We've still been writing Santa letters for years, and the gifts still aren't put under the tree until my sister, my brother and me are asleep.  We caught Mum once... with a massive garbage bag, emptying presents that were tagged "Love Santa".  It was early in the evening and we weren't close to being tired.  My brother and I snapped at Mum.  She laughed and took the presents back in her room.  

We still did the Santa routine, long after the belief of Santa was gone.  But that magic is more vivid than ever now that my two and a half year old little nephew will be waking up with us on Christmas morning.  It's not even close to Christmas eve but I'm so excited.  I feel like I'm six years old again and I can't wait for Santa to come.  I'm most looking forward to my nephew's reaction and getting excited with him.  

I'm excited because Christmas is when my family and I are together once again - and it's that magic of Santa that makes us all feel like children again.  It's that magic of Santa that makes us all feel so close.  It's that magic of Santa that makes us forget the stress of the world and makes us believe that nothing else matters but being together.

In a way, we never stopped believing in Santa... and I don't think we ever will.