Faith is the force that can move mountains. Faith–the word and the action– is defined by Trust, Hope, Assurance and Belief. Faith is what defines our humanity, as much as does love. Faith is our rock, our anchor, our lifeline, our something-to-hold-on-to.
Faith essentially means that you treasure a trust or a hope or a belief so much so that in cherishing it, you make it real. Your bring that hope and belief to life, even when you can’t necessarily see or touch it.
For example, I have Faith I was meant to be with A1. When he is acting like an actual live shit, I simply imagine the word “faith” stamped across that literally steaming pile of a man and this one willful action helps me to remember and believe and have faith in the magic that is our committed relationship.
Faith is what makes the holiday season and Christmas Day so thrilling and enchanted. I personally am a little over all of the Holiday craziness. This year most of my shopping has been done online, not because I am Scrooge, just because I can sit in my PJ’s and don’t have to worry about crowds or the mall or driving. In Annapolis you take you life into your own hands when you get behind the wheel–holiday madness just makes this worse. Why deal with that? Better to invest in Amazon Prime.
But here is why my bad attitude doesn’t do my kids any favors: it doesn’t reinforce for them the key lessons of the reason for this season. It doesn’t show them that faith, hope, friendship and love are intangible and yet essential. It doesn’t show them that they have the ability and the responsibility to act on faith and to give the gift of faith not just at Christmas, but all year long.
My kids don’t do well with lectures on these topics. Instead, I have to make it fun. In our house, we have faith in what we call “Holiday Magic”. It is not unlike Fairy Dust.
We still believe in Santa. We are reasonably assured that the Elf came from a heavy dose of Christmas Spirit and not from Target. We have actual discussion about the logistics of this. We are daily practicing the act of faith through our belief in things we can see but not necessarily touch. We manifest our faith in the mystery of Christmas through our hope, our assurance, and through good works and kind words.
We believe we can spread Christmas Magic through our own actions.
One way we do all of this is to play Secret Santa.
Here is how it works.
Over the course of the fall months, each child chooses a friend who will be their Secret Santa. This child will receive a special secret note and a gift every night for the 7 nights before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we reveal ourselves, usually with a plate of homemade cookies or treats in hand.
Here is what this looks like in reality: about a week before they are actually supposed to start delivering their secret gifts, they decide the recipient MUST have something like an American Girl Doll or BB Gun or a sleepover at the Four Seasons.
(My kids are totally warped when it comes to how hotels and travel are not something most families plan as casually as we do, and yes, I do try so so hard to help them understand that much of our opportunity comes through mama’s hard work).
Then, after some serious whining and wheedling, we get the present down to something reasonable, like a candy bar, a $10 gift card to Menchies or the movies, a little Lego figure pack or a jar of hot chocolate fixings we made ourselves. We are very keen on homemade gifts. We especially like those cozy no-sew fleece blankets you make by tying the fringe in knots.
After dinner, the kids dress in their darkest clothes. This is where A1 steps in. He gives them all his coolest gear like night vision googles and balaclavas and they sneak over to their friends house like little Ninja spies. We are laughing and snickering so hard, I am not sure how we are able to get away with our dastardly deeds, nor how the neighborhood watch hasn’t spotted us…
We leave the present on the step, knock on the door and run to hide as fast as we can. We run just far enough to be hidden but to still be able to see the child or family answer the door and see the gift.
I simply CANNOT tell you how much fun and absolutely magical this adventure is. The kids are trying so hard not to be heard, but are of course A) kids and B) so excited.
We are enchanted with stumping our Secret Santa and with seeing their reaction. We always leave a note, usually in the form of a cheezy poem. We’ve written so many over the years, and I KNOW I have them somewhere because the parents post on Facebook, wondering who the Secret Santa is, but I can’t find them anywhere…My Christmas wish is for time and space to be more organized this year…. Here is one I remember:
“Christmas Lights are Red
Christmas Lights are Blue
Santa is real
And so is my Friendship with you.”
–#1 in 2011
Oh, and this one. I laughed so hard at this last year:
You’d better not shout
You’d better not cry
I am your Secret Santa and I am telling you why
Because I just don’t want to hear you do it.
#2, in 2014
Give our Secret Santa idea a whirl. I do have a couple of caveats, most of which helps my kids be better behaved during Secret Santa time. #1) dinner has to be cleaned up. (HA!!! Don’t you love how I spun that one!!!). #2) they CANNOT tell anyone at school they are Secret Santa’s, or it will ruin the surprise. #3) they have to have their teeth brushed and be ready to climb into bed when our surreptitious escapades are over. #4) being organized with the gifts (i.e. note written, gift wrapped, black clothes laid out) is not my responsibility.
This year #1 has chosen #2 as her Secret Santa, which I am so in love with, but curious about how it will go….I will let you know. In the meantime, why don’t you give this idea a try with your family, and let us all know your favorite ideas and adventures….
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