Foss: Believing in the magic of Christmas, now more than ever

Two-year-old Ira Brown decorates the Christmas tree at his home.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Two-year-old Ira Brown decorates the Christmas tree at his home.

I barely remember last Christmas.

I know we did a lot of traditional Christmas things, and that we did more of them than ever before.

But my son, then 1, wasn’t all that engaged by the Christmasy stuff we surrounded him with.

I told him about Santa and placed a Nativity set near his toys, but he didn’t seem particularly interested in either.

And while he enjoyed his new playthings, he didn’t especially care about opening gifts, or even seem to realize that the boxes with his name on them contained something for him.

In the end, it just wasn’t the most memorable Christmas.

This year, things are different.

My son is very aware that Christmas is coming.

He knows who Santa is.

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He likes reading children’s books about Christmas and is enamored with the Christmas tree. There’s a lot he doesn’t fully grasp, but his enthusiasm is as palpable as it is contagious. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun gearing up for Dec. 25.

My son turns 3 at the end of January, and we have officially hit the age when Christmas becomes exciting and magical.

It’s transformed a holiday I’ve always enjoyed into a truly special time, where almost every day offers the opportunity to spread a little Christmas cheer.

We’ve gone out to Washington Park to look at the annual holiday lights display — something I haven’t done in at least a decade. We’ve gone down to Empire State Plaza to look at the Christmas tree. We went to a Christmas tree farm in Selkirk to cut down our tree and purchase a wreath for our door.

At home, we’ve baked and frosted cookies. We made a star for the top of our Christmas tree out of cardboard and construction paper. We read stories about Christmas every night.

There are a lot of things we’re not going to do this year for Christmas.

We won’t visit with family or attend most holiday get-togethers. (My son’s music teacher is holding an outdoor winter party that we plan to attend.) We won’t go to church or participate in crowded seasonal events.

All of that is disappointing.

Christmas would be even better — more fun, more magical — if we could bring my son to see his grandparents and cousins on Christmas Day, or attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service, or gather with others for a public tree-lighting or holiday parade.

That said, my son has no idea what he’s missing out on. He’s having a great time, and so are we.

I’ve discovered that the best way to spend Christmas is with a child who really believes, and we are blessed to have one in our house, pushing us to celebrate and rejoice even in this most unusual year.

Reach Sara Foss at [email protected] Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.

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