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December 19, 2008

Santa Angst and "The Awesome-est Day Ever"

Macys It all started in September, in Kindergarten, with a classmate that assured my daughter that Santa wasn't real.  Then the questions began, followed by our fumbling answers that were vague at first ("It's hard to say,") then firm ("Magic is alive and well in our home.")  There are things my girl wants to know, but even more right now there are things she wants to believe.  If she were ready to give up magic, it would have been a harder sell.

It turned out to be easy work debunking the classmate as a reliable source of information, as she went on to insist that mice weren't real, only rats, among a myriad of other things.

"We've never done this before," I said, "but maybe this year we can visit Santa and you can tell him what you want."  There it was--her beacon of hope--and she was not letting go.  So last weekend, we did what any Newbie Yorkers would do.  We bundled up and headed to Herald Square to see Santa at Macy's.

But against all odds, Christmas magic saw us through.  The line was long, but fast, and kept weaving and moving so the kids didn't get restless.  Soon we were aboard a train to the North Pole--complete with sound effects.  Then we entered a wonderland, and spent our last stretch in line weaving through dancing bears and playful penguins.  Waiting in line had transformed into a Christmas adventure.

Santa Claus himself didn't disappoint us, with his other-worldly aura of peace and kindness.  My daughter had rehearsed the name of the doll she wants for 45 minutes, and here on this soft lap she delivered her request flawlessly.

When we left the store, the street was filled with people in Santa costumes.  Thousands of them.  It was a Santa parade, and every now and then one would pass out a piece of candy or a Christmas tree ornament to my girls.  "It's a convention!" one of them shouted.

"Those Santas were AWESOME," my daughter said.  "They gave me candy, they gave me a toy.  This is The Awesome-est Day Ever!"

That, my friends, is Christmas magic.  The very real kind.

An original NYC Moms Blog post.  Jen Lee is the author of Don't Write: A Reluctant Journal and Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark.  You can read her blog at jenlee.net.

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