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Seeing Christmas Magic Through My Daughter’s Eyes

Christmas magic has always been prevalent in my family. My mother was a bit of a Christmas fanatic. She believed and I mean truly believed, in Santa. She swore the Santa at Macy’s in New York City was the real deal. We religiously watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and waited for Santa to make his first appearance of the year. She made me “believe” in Santa too…long after I was old enough to know otherwise.

Like all families, we had our own traditions. One of my favorites was going to Hallmark every year to pick out a dated ornament for that year. My mother started this the year I was born. She always bought one dated ornament for the tree with the intention that when I grew up, moved out and had my own tree, she would pass those along to me. So when I started my own tree, I would have a collection of ornaments – one from every year of my life.

Sadly, my mother passed away 15 years ago. Those first few Christmases without her were hard. She WAS Christmas. She was what made it special.

Making Christmas Magic for my Daughter

This year, my youngest daughter is 6 years old. Each year as she has grown, I’ve watched her excitement and wonder about Christmas grow too. I’m amazed each year that it’s possible for her to be even more excited than the last.

Since having a daughter of my own, I’ve been looking forward to sharing the traditions and making Christmas as special for her as my own mother did for me.

I’ve instilled the idea that Santa arrives at the end of the Macy’s parade. This year, before the parade, my daughter made a sign to hold up and show Santa in the parade. It said, “I love you Santa.” And when he arrived, she excitedly bounced up and down and waved her sign at the TV screen. She was so excited she couldn’t even speak! At one point, Santa leaned forward and looked directly at the camera. If I didn’t know better, I’d believe he was looking right at her and leaned forward to get a better look at her sign. I told her “I think he saw your sign!” And she squealed with delight! Her excitement truly brought tears to my eyes.

My daughter’s sign for Santa in the Macy’s Parade

I have also continued the ornament tradition my mother started for me. These days, I still pick out the ornament for her. But next year we’ll probably go to the store together and she’ll help me pick out her dated ornament. We hang these ornaments front and center on the tree each year. She already knows there are “special” ornaments that get priority placement on the tree and asked me this year before hanging each one if it was special or not.

This year, I’ve seen even more excitement from her about all the Christmas magic including baking cookies, lighting the tree, looking at Christmas lights around town, and of course the presents, than last year. She’s hyper-aware of the Elf watching her and truly believes he has magic powers and is reporting back to Santa. And I just know I’ll have to sleep in the living room on Christmas Even again to protect the presents. I will be exhausted come Christmas morning. But it will be worth it when I see the sparkle in her eyes and hear and thrill in her voice when she sees all the presents under the tree.

There are a lot of challenges to being a mother. And it’s a lot of work to make Christmas magic. But watching my daughter’s excitement about the season makes me realize why my mother made the effort to make Christmas so special. Even though I’m now 46 years old, I still love Christmas most of all. And watching it through my little girl’s eyes makes me love it even that much more!

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, its employees, sponsors, or affiliates.

Trista Gangestad

Originally from Florida, Trista Gangestad and her family moved to CO seven years ago and live on a small hobby farm with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. She and her husband have 2 daughters, the oldest of which was born with Trisomy 18, a chromosome disorder. Trista has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and worked in Communications and Event Planning for more than 10 years before becoming a mom. Now looking forward to getting back into her career, she recently formed Hello Pumpkin, a freelance business providing promotion and design services for small businesses. Trista is also currently writing a memoir of her experience raising a special needs daughter. When this busy mom has time for herself, she enjoys sewing, crafting, shopping, drinking “candy coffee” and watching guilty pleasure TV shows.

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