With Christmas still two months away, my youngest granddaughter, a first-grader, was helping me decide which products to promote on my online vintage jewelry shop. Her third grade sister, sitting next to me at their kitchen table in Colorado, was focused on mapping states on a new app I’d added for her on my phone.
When the youngest spied a Santa pin, she asked if she could “star” it so that it was featured at the top of my Etsy.com shop (Twinkling Star Vintage). From there, her talk that Saturday turned to Christmas and Santa Claus.
I was carefully parsing my words on the topic of Santa. I knew her sister no longer believed in flying reindeer and a red-coated sleigh driver, having discovered the myth by accident the previous Christmas. But, I didn’t know whether she’d shared that knowledge with her little sister.
Then it happened. She gave me a look. You know the one: the I-know-what-you-know-look and we-both-know-it-is-a-secret kind of look. When the conversation shifted away from Santa, she leaned in and whispered, “She still believes.”
That look was a big-little moment shared between granddaughter and grandmother, alerting me she was officially in the family Christmas-tribe. A “Christmas look” can comprise shared surprises, fun ideas, and thoughts of memories past, but that’s not where the real magic is.
She protected her sister’s Santa belief out of love. The magical part of that in-the-know look happens when our actions reflect a deeper understanding that Christmas isn’t about getting, but giving; not about things, but people; not about the “me,” but the “we.” A Christmas look is a look of love.
My favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street. When both my granddaughters understand Santa not as a person, but as a concept, I want to watch it with them. Sure it’s an old, tech-free, out-dated movie, but its message is timeless. For me, the movie isn’t about Santa Claus, it’s about the miracles love brings.
In the scheme of things, we could use a few love miracles in our world right now. We live at a time when we look to differences before similarities, walls before doors, anger before dialogue, strife before kindness, and self before others. I think it’s time to remember the message of love that Christmas brings.
My Christmas wish is for my granddaughters and children everywhere to live in a world with more people contributing love; where we look at each other with love first; honor differences, embrace understanding, and enable a better world for everyone, no matter where they live, what language they speak, or what holidays they do or don’t celebrate. After all, isn’t that what it means to love one another?