It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Photo: Lily, Dmitri, and Rudolph the green-shoed reindeer
When I was five, my best friend Amy– the youngest of four– broke the news about Santa. There’s just no way, she told me. Every single house? By himself? But the reindeer– I guess I believe in the reindeer. I saw a reindeer print once, so they have to be real. I, of course, was totally crushed– and when I confronted my mom at Village Inn the following day, she confirmed that Amy was right: Santa– and his reindeer– were just enduring characters in a wonderful story.
Dmitri and I haven’t given much thought to how we’re going to handle the inevitable “is he or isn’t he” conversation with Lily because she’s still so little, but Saturday’s trip to the totally decked-out town center made one thing remarkably clear: unless you know that Santa and Frosty and that random nutcracker guy on stilts (?) are supposed to signify the arrival of Christmas, they’re just a couple of weirdos at the mall. But Rudolph? He’s different, somehow. At least Lily thought so.
Maybe it was because he looked like really big Pup-Pup (currently her favorite stuffed animal). It could have been that he looked a little thirsty; my little caretaker did, after all, offer him a few “gulps” from her brand-new water bottle. Or perhaps it was the shoes–festive Chuck Taylors– that looked just like hers, only bigger. And greener. But I’m convinced it was because he took time out of posing for family photos to kneel down to Lily-level when he noticed that the crowds and characters had her a little freaked out.
I don’t get very excited about stockings or ornaments or wish-lists anymore; to be perfectly honest, I’m always a little relieved when the weight of the holidays– and all of the expectations that accompany them– dissipates. But after our sweet Rudolph encounter this weekend, I’m pretty sure that little Amy was onto something. And this season, after a decades-long hiatus? I guess I choose to believe in those reindeer, too.