My younger children are at that magical age when they really believe in Santa Claus. The questions about how it could be possible that a big fat man travels around the world in a sled pulled by flying reindeer and delivers toys to all the children of the world have not even entered into their thoughts. They still are firmly planted in the world of magical thinking and make believe.
We have a little decoration that says Letters to Santa. One of my children spotted it out at the store early in the season and declared that we had to have it so we could write proper letters to Santa. It is a tube that hangs on a red ribbon from the doorknob on our front door. Daily the children fill it with drawings and letters for Santa. They carefully print their letters, color in the pictures, draw Christmas tree after Christmas tree, pictures of a smiling Santa with a great big pom-pom on his head. And when the little tube if full, they take their notes out and re-roll them, trying to squeeze a bit more into it. Writing to Santa is serious business.
Every night they hang it out on the front doorknob. The elves come and take their notes away and give them to Santa. It is very exciting.
A couple of nights ago my husband called home, his nightly I am leaving work is there anything you need me to pick up call. I let my 3-year-old answer my cellphone when it rang. And instead of the customary hello, Rob said, "Ho-Ho-Ho! Merry Christmas!" That was all my son needed to hear.
"Santa is on the phone! It's Santa Claus!" he screamed.
Then there was much scrambling, fighting over the phone, and wailing. Oh the wailing. And possibly cursing. But that was from me. Had it been Santa on the phone he would have immediately added all of them to the Naughty List.
Eventually they took turns talking to "Santa," filling him in on their wish lists and telling him which of their siblings they think should be getting coal. Rob played along ho-ho-ho-ing. He loved it saying that they were just so adorable on the phone. But I was the one who got to watch their eyes light up and grow wide as he said their names. I know from experience how short this time of their lives is. How quickly it will be replaced by older kids who question everything and then by adolescents from whom very little is magical.
I cherish this.