The magic of Christmas - and why you should embrace every wide-eyed minute

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock 

Ever since I was a little girl Christmas has been a magical time of year for me.

Growing up in a single parent household, with no brothers or sisters, I'd often turn to my imagination to brighten my day when I felt lonely.

And my mum worked extra hard to make festivities like Christmas, Easter and birthdays special. 

The lead-up to Christmas each year was wonderful. We would almost always get a real tree and cover it in ornaments and sparkly tinsel. We'd pile gifts under it for family and friends. And I'd spend hours picking up any presents for me, gently shaking them, desperately trying to figure out what was inside. 

Christmas music would be played on high rotation and we'd watch all the holiday specials on TV. 

On Christmas Eve night, we would put carrots out for the reindeers, and milk and biscuits on a special plate for Santa. We'd watch the TV news to see the Man in Red's estimated travelling time, watch the carols and wander through the neighbourhood to look at everyone's festive lights. Sometimes we'd go to Midnight Mass and sing at the top of our lungs. 

Then I would lie in bed and listen out for Santa's bells. 

Every year I'd hear them tinkling outside my window, thanks to mum or one of her friend's creeping out quietly to ring them, unknowingly to me. Safe in the knowledge that Father Christmas was nearby, I'd make a special wish, close my eyes and will myself to sleep. 

I knew Santa was real; he had to be. He brought joy and I lived for joy.

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Elves, reindeers, flying sleighs, workshops full of presents, Mother Christmas, naughty or nice lists  – all of these were what made Xmas special.

The magic of it all made it my favourite time of year.

I vowed that if I ever had children of my own that I'd make sure they too would be swept up in the spirit.

And I kept true to my promise. The same Christmas traditions have been carried out at our house, with our three children. 

But each year as they grow older, it's gotten harder to keep the magic alive. One by one, they've stopped believing in Santa. 

Luckily, they've been fantastic at keeping the secret from their younger siblings and the wide-eyed joy has continued to thrive.

However, I fear this will be our last year of having a believer in the house and it's breaking my heart. 

It's a milestone I wasn't prepared for and now it's here I'm at a loss as to what to do. It means my kids won't be invested in the magic anymore and magic is important.

I'll need to find new traditions to keep the magic alive somehow, because when you have the power of imagination to create joy it can help you when the real world feels like a dark place.

Magic helps you feel like there's possibilities outside the daily grind. It reminds you to believe in miracles - and sometimes miracles are all that you have to pull though your hard times.

The magic of Christmas might be coming to an end at our house, but I will never stop creating moments for my children to believe that anything can happen if you wish for it hard enough.