Fanning the flames of childhood wonder
The excitement was palpable that night. In fact, it had been building up through the whole week leading up to it. The air was thick with it! And I’m not even referring to the kids there – that’s just my sister-in-law and myself alone! We’re total and complete saps for such stuff- Team Sappy, that’s us. But oh, what night of magic and wonder it was!
In case you missed it, I’ve explained in a previous post( here), that this year we started a new tradition in our home this past Saturday: a North Pole Party. You know, when Santa invites the littles over for one night at the North Pole? It’s nothing new really, it in fact, it’s not uncommon overseas, especially in the USA. (Oh my gosh, Christmas in the States is just incredible! I was messaging my sister just yesterday telling her how I miss it so! Not to say that Christmas isn’t pretty darn amazing here (or anywhere else). I suppose it was just the collective energy of everyone over there, believing in and trying their darndest to uphold the spirit and magic of Christmas, that I fed off on.)
But yeah, nothing new, but still exciting. And as explained before, I’ve been doing all these little Christmassy things with our kids( no matter how little they were), and with my nieces and nephews in all the years before we had kids. But it was always spread out over a couple of days. This year I decided to get myself organized for ONE BIG night of Christmas magic with the kids, with one night at the North Pole!
It was perfect! It was cosy, quaint and small, yes- only a few loved ones- with the wee-ones clad in their jammies. But oh man, brimming with that kind of childhood magic that keeps the heart aflame! And besides , littles in jammies? Weak-in-my-knees, I tell ya!
The eldest of the bunch couldn’t wait to get started. We were however, wanting to wait on our one cherub guest to recharge from her power nap, so in the mean time, I anxiously waited for our Cape Town summer sun to set already – because when it does, that’s when the real North Pole magic comes out to play! (excuse the poor pix, I hadn’t had time to set my cam for night settings, so I just stuck to my phone that was straining to be honest.)
We kicked it off by making some Reindeer food – a sweet tradition I saw my sister do with her little girl. I’ll never forget it: As the snow gently fell down that Christmas eve, after the church service, Nina, my niece, showed me her stash of reindeer food in the back seat of their car. Her eyes twinkled with delight and excitement as the glittering oats caught the glints of the passing streetlights. I was equally enamoured with it – it was the first time I had even heard of this concept . And as an absolute Christmas freak, I lapped it all up. (Tell me more!) She explained to me what she needed to do with it. She couldn’t wait, and made sure my sister didn’t forget either. Before bedtime we slapped on our snow coats, braved the snowy weather and sprinkled the reindeer food – to guide them to your home at night, by the moonlight! I took photos, with my wind-up film camera, and was possibly just as excited as my nieces that night – I totally picked up on their energy. I couldn’t wait to do this with my own kids one day.
So it was pretty fitting then to start the night off with it. They took this pretty seriously. My god-child wanted me to repeat what and when she is supposd to do with it again – she wanted to get it just right! Morgy felt the reindeer really really needed alot of chips, and so spent the majority of her efforts on that particular dish. Pax howver, just couldnt get enough of it. She really really liked this activity – even passed on cookie-break to keep going.(who is she, and where is the real Parker?!)
We refuelled with some cookies and milk.
Then it was some letter writing to Santa.
Although, it proved trickier for my kids than I thought: When I asked Morgan-lee what she wanted, her’s was a clear, “nothing mom. I want nothing”. And she has genuinely been like this forever. Not interested in gifts, likes toys to a degree, but has in the past very happily let all her little birthday party guests open her birthday gifts up while she plays outside. She much prefers that we rather play dress up or run around and play games than really pine for any toys. My heart is full because of her character and particularly this character trait of her’s…However, it did put a slight spanner in the works for Santa letters. So I explained she could just ask him questions.
(note how Im trying to hide my slightly perplexed look, as I try to work with “nothing”.)
Then Santa dropped a magical scroll to the girls down the chimney. How else, right? He apologised for not being there on the very night he invited them over, but was very busy getting ready for Christmas. He also needed their help, because he has been so busy, that he had lost a few items around the place and desperately needed it – else how would he ever get to deliver the toys!! That Santa! Honesly. He’s such a Loskop! And now, the fate of Christmas morning hung in the balance and on the little shoulders of these kiddies. Armed with their torches and eagerness, they set out to find it all, and did awesomely.
After finding Santa’s driver’s license, glove, his head elf’s hat, as well as a few more goodies, we grabbed some hot chocolate, pizza and more cookies. The girls may have found some time to squeeze in a dance session too – I mean, honesly, what’s a party without dancing, right? And these girls dont ever miss on opportunity to shake what I gave them! 🙂
Thereafter, we settled in, for it was time for Grandma’s rendition of “Twas night before Christmas”.
Now, I don’t know about you, but this is my all-time favourite Christmas book. In fact, this book. This very one right here, could very well be MY all time favourite book ever. I don’t know why, maybe the pop-up nature of it, maybe that it’s a tale as old time, or maybe it’s the Christmas sap in me raging wildly again, but all the cosy and good feels bubble up in me with this book. Even if I just look at it, those feels are right there, like a switch being flipped. Or maybe it’s the beautiful memories of how my mom and dad used to read this book to me and my brother at night. I made sure it was EVERY Christmas eve night!
Now, can you imagine how crushed I must’ve felt when I thought I had lost this book in our move to our home? I had had such romantic visions of me doing the same for our daughters year after year for every Christmas eve, and now it was lost?! Almost shattered into pieces, I tell you. And then can you imagine the crazy happy dance I did when I actually uncovered it again this year January?! Cray-zee. I put it in a safe place after that. And checked in on it often throughout this whole year- jusssst to be sure.(Yes, Im a little paranoid)
And then this night, this North pole night, what happy feels I had as I carefully removed it from its safe haven and handed it over to my mom to read to the children. As per usual, its pop-up beauty had inquisitive little hands all over it, wanting my mom to repeat and repeat. The oohh-and- ahh invoking capability of this book has not faded one bit. Ahhh….God, I love Christmas time.
And then, it was gifting time. Just small little gifts, where each kid only brings ONE toy for a specific kid. What fun.
Oh, and of course, Santa made a personal call to thank the kids for finding all his goodies, and to be good little children for mommy and daddy. Only a little shy at first, the girls eventually went for it, with very happy “Hi Santa’s” and bombarded him with questions and stories of their own. Although, I doubt any of the girls or santa could hear each other after a while with all the excitement in the room. Sheesh! I owe that santa a nice bottle of wine! 😉
Like, I said, perfect night. Sure, there may have been a few hiccips along the way: one of VIP’s was a little too tired and had to call it a night; Santa’s magic scroll totally missed its cue several times to drop down the chimney (leaving me, standing there, with the kids eyeballing me with suspicion, as I repeated bogus christmassy lines to the kids in hopes that the magic scroll would drop…(annnny second now), and yes, the south easter wind may have (once more) gone nuts and made that our scavenger hunt had to take place indoors. But ah, every bit of sleep that I gave up to cut a snowflake, paint a north pole sign, or lunge up onto tables at night, and the required stretch of imagination put in, was, just like anything with children, so utterly well worth it.
(Morgy looked through the pix with me, and said she cant wait for the next one! And then tried her luck with, “can we have THREE parties his time?!“)
Christmas carols filling our walls, loved ones were a chatter, little girlies giggling, munching on cookies and creating master pieces…and there was me, soaking every little bit of it all up.
For some North Pole souveniers, courtesy of the elves and Mr. and Mrs. Clause, the girls received:
– Dream Pillow Mist,
– Ruldolph Rednose Red – reindeer magic all bottled up in this rather Christmassy nail colour
– And, of course, a candy cane straight from the North Pole.
Flames successfully fanned, and I dont think anyone who left that night, was safe from it! 🙂
Here’s to you making your own magic and keeping it alive!X