A note to Santa.

My great-nephew is 10 years old. I expect this is his last year of believing in Father Christmas. No doubt he’ll return to school on Jan. 3 saying, “Santa Claus brought me a Kinect and two of the ‘Heroes of Olympus” books!’ and some cynical fifth-grader will reply, “Dude, your mom bought those gifts.”

This year, though, he still believes. Witness the note he left on the kitchen table.

Yeah, he needs to pay attention to his spelling. It's still damn cute!

Yeah, he needs to pay attention to his spelling. It’s still damn cute!

So nice to see innocence still at an age where others are already cynical.

We had orange rolls and bacon for breakfast, and cookies for dessert — yep, you get dessert at breakfast on Christmas — and wonder of wonders, Malachi didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn. I know because I was sleeping in the bunk below. At 8:45 a.m. I heard him climb out of bed and start down the hallway — and then I heard his mom give her, “Not so fast, buddy” whistle through her bedroom’s open door.  The night before she’d said “Not until 9 o’clock” and she meant it.

He and his 5-year-old brother were beside themselves with joy no matter what they opened. Shirts were exciting. “Star Wars” sheets were fabulous. Even socks were thrilling — but then again, they were “Phineas & Ferb” socks. Who wouldn’t plotz over those?

Christmas is always more fun when little kids are involved. I was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future, i.e., the fact that my daughter is busily knitting my first grandchild. That enjoyment won’t really kick in for a few years, though. Next year the li’l spud will be only about four months old. Christmas 2013, still only 16 months old — excited about the lights and thrilled to tear paper off packages, but not yet digging the backstory.

Christmas 2014 and thereafter will be the sweet spot: when the tyke is old enough to understand the idea of Santa and not so old as to be blase about the whole thing. Somewhere between, oh, 3 and my age.

P.S. Definitely a white Christmas here in Anchorage. It’s snowing again right now. Ho, ho, etc.

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  1. He spelled ‘believe’ phonetically like a lot of the ten year olds I teach and a good attempt! Isn’t it great that he is still so innocent, probably his last year ‘beileaving’. It’s wonderful to have the birth of your grandchild to look forward to and all of the christmases with Santa Claus.
    Uncharacteristically mild weather here in Ireland unlike last year’s white Christmas.
    Happy Holidays.

  2. Her second Christmas, my daughter was about the age your grandchild will be in 2013. She went around our tree and my mother’s tree, touching each light and saying, “Hot!” She just never tired of it, no matter how many hot lights she touched. I expected she would take ornaments off that year, but she just wanted to touch hot lights. We laughed for weeks as she touched the lights and exclaimed, “Hot!” You would think she would tire of hot lights, but noooo.

  3. Now A Country Mouse

    Donna, not sure if these will come in handy when you get to enjoy your grandbaby, but here goes: #1: Tell her/him any night of the year that when she/he sees a red light in the sky above, that it is not really an airplane, but Rudolph making practice flights. #2: Sprinkle a little glitter near the fireplace so that when she/he wakes up on Christmas morning, she/he can find evidence of his magic dust. My 5-year old daughter was amazed when she found the magic dust this morning. 🙂

    • Donna Freedman

      @Now A Country Mouse: Thanks for the ideas. I like the red-nose thing especially, even though reindeer aren’t quite as thrilling to these two — they’ve hung out with real ones at the Reindeer Farm in Palmer, Alaska.

  4. Good sign that he’s an independent thinker. He believes “even if nobody else” does!

  5. That reindeer farm looks kinda cute. Don’t think I’ll ever get to AK, but nice to see their website.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Named: I’ve been there myself. The reindeer come running when you come into the corral, because they know that the tourists have been given a handful of reindeer chow. It’s a little intimidating to see all those antlers heading straight for you, but the animals are very friendly. Once you’ve gotten rid of the reindeer chow, you can pet the deer and pose for pictures with them.

  6. Awww, congratulations on a new generation!!

  7. Plotz..another one of my favourite words. Donna, I imagine you’ll be out at the after-Christmas sales already stocking up for the soon to be grandkid..

    • Donna Freedman

      @Cat: Nope, haven’t been to a single sale yet. In part that’s because I’m in Anchorage without a vehicle — and besides, I’d just have to carry it home. The suitcase I thought would be lighter because I’d given my gifts is now filling up with gifts people gave to me.
      “Plotz” doesn’t get used often enough, I think.

  8. Gosh 9am. We got up at 5 and yelled “can we go in yet!” over and over ’till my folks gave up…..

    Sounds like a lovely day!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Dr. Dean: I remember my sibs and me getting up as early as 3 a.m. and knowing we couldn’t go down yet or our parents would kill us. Good times!
      And it was a lovely day.

  9. I’m so happy for you on so many levels!

  10. That is adorable.

    Am I wrong, or is it pretty amazing that he clings to his belief in Santa at the age of 10? Seems to me my son had been disabused by about the age of five or six, thank you very much preschool and kindergarten! And even back in the Dark Ages when we didn’t have any such amenities, I can remember when I was ten and “Santa” came in a helicopter and everyone knew very well he was a white guy in a funny-looking outfit because after all if he really were Santa he wouldn’t need a freaking helicopter, Rub al’ Khali or no Rub al’ Khali. Obviously, a) a magical sleigh can go anywhere and b) a helicopter a magical sleigh did not make; therefore….

    We were jaded little kids. 😉

    • Donna Freedman

      @Funny About Money: I think it’s unusual, too. My best friend and I believed up until age 9 or so, but we were pretty sheltered. It surprises me that he still believes in magic. Once he’s finally disillusioned, I hope that his mom and I can convince him to become Santa Claus, i.e., to perpetuate the belief in his little brother and to look for ways to perpetuate kindness in the world.

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