I Still Believe

Christmas Memories

There is a magic to the holiday season, no matter what your age. The twinkling lights, seeing Santa waving from his chair, and the smells of holiday treats can all ignite a nostalgic feeling of holidays past.

I didn’t grow up in a large family. I am an only child and was the only grandchild on both sides for 13 years, but our Christmases were always filled with magic. My grandpa was the mayor of his town for over 20 years, so their house was always open. If you didn’t have somewhere to spend the holidays, you were welcome there. I have memories of a warm house, a Griswold worthy Christmas tree, presents stacked all over the room, the smell of Christmas dinner cooking, and Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby playing in the background.
We always had fun and even though the family was small, its love was large.

Where Are You, Christmas?

Just as I was getting to the age of Christmas not being as exciting and magical, my little cousins came along and it was a different magic watching through their eyes. New traditions started and old ones carried over. I can remember the Christmas that made me think, “I will never let it lose its magic again.” My youngest cousin was around 11 or 12 and very much a tween. She wanted the Avril Lavigne CD so bad and when she didn’t unwrap it, she sat and pouted for hours. Little did she know that Santa was bringing it to her the next morning (we were Christmas Eve openers). That was when I promised myself that when I had kids, it would be more about the magic and fun that Christmas brings over the presents … the way it’s supposed to be.

Our traditions include Elf of the Shelf; Marty and Jingle still come even though our kids are well into their teenage years. We turn on Christmas music as soon as the Macy’s Day Parade is over. The decorations are out before the turkey is served. We pick a day and go do Christmas things like visit Santa (yes, I still make them pose for a picture), go to Celebration In The Oaks, see the lobby decorations at the hotels, and we do a Santa brunch. They make lists and send them off with their elves. All the Christmas movies get played, from Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas to Christmas Vacation. We go for Chinese food on Christmas Eve. We plan our Christmas morning breakfast and dinner. It’s all part of magic and making memories and traditions for them to carry on to their families.

No Grinch Here

I sometimes get the comment of “You know your kids don’t believe anymore?” To that, I say yes I am fully aware that they no longer believe that Santa himself comes down the chimney and fills their stockings with all the things they asked. I know they know their elves won’t lose magic if they’re touched, and that when I say to “put it on the list to Santa,” they know I am taking a mental note. But what I also know is that they do believe in the magic that Christmas brings, that they have memories of magical elves, and their Christmas mornings are filled with surprise and happiness.

To be totally honest, my kids have never questioned the reality of Santa and have never questioned how the elves move around the house. They have come home and said they were told by someone at school that Santa isn’t real or the elves don’t move, and my response has always been “What do you believe?” or “Oh that is sad that so and so feels that way, but you believe what you want to believe.” We just never felt that it was a discussion that we needed to have. I have seen some wonderful posts on how to have these discussions if necessary, and yes reading them brings tears to my eyes.

I know a lot of my push to make Christmas Magic last comes from the reality that all of this goes by way too fast. I know that in the distant (very distant I hope) future, I will have grandkids to enjoy the little kid magic with again, but until then, let me enjoy the magic that my big kids and myself still embrace. And yes when the time comes, I am sure the elves will show up on the LSU campus with a special delivery of Mrs. Claus’ famous cookies.

Nikki was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she has lived in Seattle and Portland. After visiting New Orleans, she fell in love with the city, and she and her husband decided to take a chance and move from the PNW to NOLA. Nikki has two kids, Amaya (16) and Tyson (13), she and her husband Dave have been married for 16 years, they live on the Northshore. Nikki works full time as a NICU nurse. Nikki and her family have fully embraced the culture of New Orleans, while they live on the Northshore, they play in New Orleans as often as they can. As a member of New Orleans Mom, she hopes to bring the perspective of the veteran mom and life with big kids and teenagers.


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