A few days ago, my daughter asked me while brushing her teeth, “Is Santa going to come to drop off my gifts?” In that moment, I refused to burst my little angel’s bubble about Santa, but I wanted to infuse a dose of critical thinking.
I asked her, “But how is Santa going to get into our apartment?” She responded, “He’s going to come down the chimney.”
I don’t discuss Santa Clause as I have expressed in a prior piece. So I responded, “We don’t have a chimney,” to which she responded, “Oh man,” with the look of major disappointment on her face that needed a hug. As I hugged her, I said to her, “But you know what, you’re still getting all your gifts.” Her face lit up like a light bulb with the biggest smile.
Santa Claus means so many things to different people. For some it is significant and for others, it isn’t. There is so much room for celebrating with your family however you see fit, and here is my second interview.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas means, a time to celebrate life, to celebrate family, to celebrate togetherness, to celebrate a time of light and joy and a time to come together to make traditions for you and your family. Something to pass along to your kids as well, and also a time for giving. I teach the kids around this time to give what they have to others and also to be able to give back to the community. So even if it’s just one person that we give back to or one family we give back to. We always try to do that around this time of year.
What are some of of those specific family traditions that you grew up with that you would like to pass along to your children?
I wish I could bring some of the Christmas traditions from home here, like bamboo bursting. That used to be fun growing up. But the one thing that granny always did was change the house around, put the curtains up, and she had red curtains. We had a tree that looked like a Christmas tree outside and we used to put lights at the bottom of it.
So what I do here is change everything in the house. We’ll change the curtains in the house…[to] red. These are the little things we do. We didn’t have that idea of Santa and the chimney, but she always used to say somebody is going to bring gifts.
I do the Santa thing with the kids to preserve innocence, so I will be wrapping presents Christmas Eve and when they wake up on Christmas Day, the will be like, “What is all of this?” I leave it bare under the tree till Christmas Eve.
My own tradition is staying up till 4 o’clock in the morning Christmas Day drinking coquito, or whatever wine I have, and just wrapping gifts when they go to bed. When they wake up, they have their gifts under the tree and they’re all surprised.
I think one day [my daughter] caught me at 2 o’clock, ‘cause I dropped something and she woke up. She came running and found me in the living room with one of the gifts in my hand. She’s like, “What happened?” and I said, “I don’t know. I came running too out of here. I think Santa heard us and he dropped the gifts and ran” (laughing hysterically). She goes, “Oh my gosh. He was using our Christmas wrapping paper!” I said, “That’s why I buy them, so that he can have stuff to use to wrap.” Just little things.
I try to do the cooking thing. It’s about family, so most of the time we go to my mom. I didn’t realize it was something that we did mostly every year for the past couple, and Thanksgiving reminded me that we’re not going to Nana’s house…so what are we going to do for Christmas? So they were a little upset about that. Christmas might be a little different for them this year.
I used to take them around the community, if we cooked, and I’ll take them to see if there are any people who needed food around. We’d give them plates. My grandmother would do it as well. We’d cook, and either people would come to the home to eat that she would invite, or she would go around and give families in need baskets of food. That’s another thing I took with me.
Santa or no Santa, Christmas can have so much meaning to us all. It’s really about family and community.
Thanks Dee for participating. You reminded me Christmas traditions like bamboo bursting I almost forgot about.