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Should All Things Change?
December 30, 2013 - Ernest Hohmeyer
Our youngest child no longer believes in Santa Claus.
An era has passed.
At first, I even had trouble buying Christmas presents.
A few weeks before Christmas, I looked at the Santa Suit one last time. It was over 20 years old and a bit tattered. With TLC it had withstood 3 children growing up waiting for Santa to blast his way into our home on Christmas morning.
No more. No longer do we have to frantically bake those Santa cookies on Christmas Eve while we were trying to stealthy wrap presents in some dark corner so the kids couldn’t see us. We couldn’t see either, which didn’t always work out so well.
Do you know how hard it is to explain to your wild eyed kids who specifically wrote to Santa, that the Barbie doll your son got from him was really for his sister? And why did SHE get the battle cruiser Lego's when THEY asked for it?
Maybe it’s a good thing I was thinking a couple of weeks ago. Christmas Eve will be a holiday to relax. No longer do we have to worry about last minute gifts because Santa forgot to look at the list. No longer will we have to be up till sunrise wrapping presents and then waking up 30 minutes later to play Santa Claus.
You see we have this crazy tradition passed on from my father and perhaps his.
When I was growing up, there was no hint of Christmas until that morning. There was no tree beforehand or presents on the floor. Things looked like they always did.
Then Christmas morning came and pandemonium broke loose.
It was usually the jingling bells that woke me up. They were so far away at first but they slowly came closer and closer to my room getting louder by the second.
But that was nothing.
Who is Calling?
Apparently, he was a big man with a heavy load because - man - did he make noise. Stomping his feet and yelling all kinds of “Ho! Ho’s!”
When I was older, about 25, I finally had the courage to peep down from the top of the stairway to catch a glimpse.
He sure was big and all decked out, putting those presents down. When finished he barely made it through the lobby door on his way to the cellar chimney.
And there for the first time, I would see the Christmas tree and of course the presents.
How Far Do We Go?
So my wife and I kept the tradition going. The only exception was making it a family adventure by cutting our own tree on the property and putting it up together.
Every year, Christmas lists were placed under the tree, cookies and milk were readied and excitement filled the air when Santa came jingling, crashing and thrashing around.
The last couple of years I stooped really low to fool our youngest son. We made mock videos that “caught him in the act,” my wife played Santa and one year I asked one of our employees to do it. That one really got my kids, when both Dad AND Mom were looking down the staircase…
Yes, it was over.
Or so I thought.
Some time before Christmas, our oldest daughter now in College asked me “What kind of cookies do we want to bake for Santa?”
And then my other son, also in College asked “Should we expect Santa about the usual time?”
“Are you kidding me?!” I incredulously asked them. “All of you are too old for this now don't you think?!"
“It’s something we don’t talk about Dad” was my daughter’s reply.
“It never occurred to us that you would stop doing this” my son retorted.
“Why should I?” I responded.
“It’s a part of the holidays, Dad. It always will be.”
The kids were quite somber. It had never occurred to them this tradition would end.
It never occurred to me they would think this way.
They were sincerely disappointed. Perhaps more than me.
Change Isn’t Everything
With a couple of days remaining to Christmas, my wife and I once again fixed the old Santa suit and even talked about buying a new one.
We ran around like crazy after we asked for additional items for “Santa’s list.” Once again we wrapped presents in the dark and stayed up way too late putting everything together.
In the wee hours of the next morning, Santa arrived as always, stomping, huffing and now a bit older, definitely puffing. All 3 kids came down on queue and Christmas was celebrated as it always had been.
It got me thinking that some things are not meant to change. Hard work, a family’s love, dedication may be a few. And while I always talk a lot here about change and preparing for it, there are some items that are timeless.
Customer service, value and consistency may be a few of those unshakeable pillars.
Times do change and someday our kids will hopefully bring their children for an Adirondack holiday.
I now know one thing for sure though, no matter where they are, somebody in their family will be ringing the bell, stomping their feet and bringing imagination and joy.
New & Old?
Perhaps with the New Year now knocking on our door and ringing its bell, its okay to reaffirm that not all things should change and to believe in your dreams – no matter how old you are.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!
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