The Magic of Santa Claus

There’s something special about believing in Santa Claus when you’re a child. I remember how excited I became the closer it got to Christmas, just thinking about what I might find under the tree Christmas morning. I remember being so excited I could hardly go to sleep on Christmas Eve. 

My mom made sure we left cookies and milk out for him on Christmas Eve, and she always emphasized that I had to stay in bed and get to sleep so he’d come with all the presents. It was sure hard to do.

But somehow I managed to go to sleep and sleep through the night (oh, how I wish I could do that now!) and wake up so excited I didn’t know what to do!

And I was always even more excited when I looked under the tree at the wrapped presents that hadn’t been there the night before. He’d been there! He really had! Santa Claus himself! And I knew it because he’d also left some cookie crumbs on the plate and almost finished the milk in his glass. I knew he was real.

That special feeling of wonder and excitement just can’t be duplicated. Children need that wonderment, that excitement, that feeling of awe and amazement that only comes once a year, on Christmas morning, under that Christmas tree.

I still remember when one of my friends told me there was no Santa Claus, and I came home from school so upset I didn’t know what to do. When I told my mother about it though, I didn’t ask her if my friend was correct. Because I knew in my heart she was wrong. I told my mom I was upset because now my friend wouldn’t have Santa visit her anymore and bring her presents.

Ahhh….the wonder and magic of Santa Claus to a child at Christmas is just indescribable sometimes.

 And it’s so important.

Our adult minds can’t fathom and certainly can’t believe in the man in the red suit who never ages and who lives in the utter cold of the North Pole with his wife and a bunch of elves who spend all year working tirelessly to make one night the most special one ever for children around the world.

We can’t fathom how this man can get in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, of all things, filled with an inexhaustible supply of toys and gifts, and deliver them to every child in the world on Christmas Eve, stopping long enough at each house to also sample the cookies and milk left out for him by sleeping children.

We can’t understand it with our adult minds because we’ve lost the gift of imagination. We’ve lost the ability, and perhaps even the desire, to see things the way we used to, when the world was a far different place. Many of us have become jaded and cynical, preferring to stomp on the dreams and imagination of others because we don’t believe, and we want others to agree with us, and validate our truths.

Let me tell you this, the wonder and excitement and joy I see in the eyes of our granddaughters when they think about Santa Claus, when they see him, when they talk about him…that’s all I need to know how real he is.

And I briefly go back to being that little girl in this picture seeing Santa Claus in Wanamaker’s department store and telling him what I want for Christmas and knowing (hopefully) I’m going to get it.

I see the excitement in our older granddaughter’s eyes and hear it in her voice when she holds this little green Beanie Baby reindeer we have with our decorations and saying how she really, REALLY wants Santa to bring her one like it. And talks about how she’s going to introduce hers to this one and let them play together.

And guess what. I truly believe Santa is going to do just that. 

Because he’s Santa Claus.

And for those who don’t believe, or don’t want their children to believe, well I have to say I’m sorry, because you really don’t know what you’re missing out on.

Keeping the Kids Busy

There’s always a big discussion when you’re making your guest list over whether or not children are invited. This subject can really make a lot of people upset, including a lot of your family members! Especially if they have children who aren’t invited!

First of all, if you’re having a flower girl(s) and ring bearer, you’re going to have children there! And don’t be thinking that you’ll just limit it to just those couple of kids, because if you’re including them, how in the world are you going to tell your fiancé’s groomsman that HIS children aren’t invited!

You want to share your happiness with everyone you love on your wedding day. But why don’t you want their children? There can honestly be lots of reasons. Cost is usually a big factor, since you’re going to have to pay for their meals, too, even though children’s meals are usually discounted. And please don’t try to ask their parents to pay for their children’s meals, like we’ve heard a couple of brides did! That’s worse than excluding them altogether! Some couples have said they didn’t want babies or kids under 2-3 at their wedding because they might cry, and it would spoil their ceremony recording. Even though they have a point, don’t tell the guests that either! Or you may want to limit it to no children because of the adult food and beverages to be served. There are as many reasons as there are weddings.

So let’s look at this issue. And bear in mind, there’s no right or wrong answer.

If you decide not to include children, let your friends and family with young children know as far in advance as possible so they can make arrangements for childcare. We usually suggest that rather than putting “No children please” or “Adults only” on the invitations. And rather than addressing your invitations as “The Smith Family” (which implies children are included) write the names of the adults who are actually invited on the envelope and the inside envelope of the invitation. If the kids are invited, “Children welcome” is fine. And be sure to include on your RSVP card a line for the number of adults vs. children who will attending!
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But it’s YOUR wedding. And you and your future spouse have to make that final determination.

As we said earlier, if you’re having a flower girl and/or ring bearer, then you’re having children at the wedding. You’re certainly not going to have them IN the wedding, and then tell their parents they aren’t welcome at the reception! Although I’m sure that’s been done. But how would you feel if it were your kids?

Personally, I love having the little ones in the wedding, even though we never really know for sure that they’re going to do what they’ve rehearsed. All those pictures on Pinterest of the little ones walking down the aisle with their signs, or their flower baskets or ring pillows are just adorable. But the younger they are, well, the less likely they are to cooperate. After all, when they practiced there wasn’t a whole huge group of people sitting around with all their eyes on them! That’s enough to make anyone nervous, especially when you’re just 3-4 years old! And having to stand at the altar during the wedding and keep still? What’s the attention span of a 3-4 year old anyway? But they are an important part of the day, and who cares if they provide a little light-hearted distraction?

Just remember, don’t make it too complicated for your flower girl(s) or ring bearer(s). Remember, they’re kids; they’re going to be a bit nervous. You’re the bride – or groom – and you’re an adult and YOU’RE going to be nervous as well!

One of our brides had her flower girl and ring bearer, and also her five year old son who walked her down the aisle, since her dad had passed away. We weren’t sure whether he’d be nervous or not and refuse to walk at the last minute, so I did have (as always) a back up plan, but he did great, and was so proud to walk with his mom and hand her off to her husband to be…. Yes, I did almost cry at that moment!Shadoe and Alex

Plus, the little ones do make taking pictures afterwards a bit…interesting. But they’re so cute in the pictures, who can resist?

Then there’s the reception! And the kids, well, they do need some supervision! And almost always the parents are really good about that. Of course, sometimes they do slip away. And then you never know what they’ll get into. (I do wonder, though, if some of these pictures were candids or actually staged!)

Just make sure that if your wedding party is seated together, that the flower girl and ring bearer are seated with their parents, and not at your head table, otherwise you are most likely in for some misadventures!

You could also have a kids’ table, with special kids’ activities, goodie bags, fun kids’ food, and our suggestion, someone to sit at the table with them to “babysit” them. You don’t want their parents babysitting either, because you want them to relax and not have to worry about what their children are doing. They can even have their own special “toast” with milk and cookies! (They might even share if you’re nice to them!)

And the kids do have a great time out on the dance floor, and sometimes steal the show!

Many hotel venues actually offer a separate kids’ room that can be set up just for the younger wedding guests, with games, videos, snacks, and of course adult supervision. To us, that’s ideal, if your budget allows!

Our advice…if you’re planning a wedding start thinking about it now. It may seem like a minor detail, but trust me, it can become an issue if you’re not careful.

And by the way, we’re talking about actual AGES of the children. Not those of your friends and family who act like children on occasion or are still “young at heart”. That’s a whole other subject for another time…..

Photo Sources: 1st Row: greylikesweddings.com; karentranflorals.com – 2nd Row: onsugar.com – 3rd Row: southernbrideandgroom.com; thebridaldetective.com; Arnie Otto Photography on Etsy- 4th Row: weddingbee.com; Biltmore Estates on tworingstudios.com; phoenixweddingphotography via greatkidpix.wordpress.com; hudsonphotos.blogspot.com – 5th Row: SeanHolderPhotography.com – 6th Row: dreamweddingshawaii.com; deviantart.com by achfoo – 7th Row: GPTPhotography via BridalMusings.com; elitesoundsentertainmentgroup.com – 8th Row: theweddingcottage.net; lilsugar.com; greenbrideguide.com; cdn madamenoire.com – 9th Row: Jen Williamson on BorrowedandBlue.com; lovelyindeed.com; meyoujustustwo via tumblr; Michele Beckwith Photography on stylemepretty.com; sweetpaultypepad.com – 10th Row:besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com; thephotoargus.com; unitedwithlove.com; weddingbee.com