It's Christmas time here at Ninja Headquarters, and believe me, it is in full swing. I was thinking of different traditions to start with Nathan, as I like to keep things interesting. I was reminded of the Yule Goat, or the Joulupukki. My high school boyfriend had a cousin who married a man from Finland (you still with me?) named Jan. He brought over little goat shaped figures out of straw and we ate a boat load of stollen. I love stollen. So do my hips. So, Mama-san stays away from the delicious stollen. Nathan will be going away for Christmas, so I wanted to start something that would be special between us.
My original idea was to do a sort of advent calendar, but I didn't like the idea of it all being candy. I wanted him to work at being a good boy, but also, being a good citizen. Learning how to share and to help others doesn't come naturally and I wanted it to be a part of our holidays.
We don't have much, but I feel that it is necessary to share and to give because we can.
So, I told Nathan that he was being watched by Santa's elves. He immediately went looking around the house, to inspect for hidden cameras. He's darn smart, that boy. But, I told him that the elves would be keeping an eye on him; making sure he does his homework, his chores and other things that good boys do.
We took a gift off of our school's "giving tree" to give to another child. Nathan was pretty adamant about not giving this "ghost" child a gift. I asked him about it, he explained, "Well, then I'll get less prizes!"
I could understand where his aspie brain was coming from. But, I also wanted him to understand that there are people who need our help. He was still dubious. I told him, "Well, you know....Santa's elves are watching. If you give this prize, then you may get a prize in return."
He really liked that idea. He asked for paper and pen and we scribed a letter. It started with, "Dear Christmas Elves..." and that is how the story of Fred came to life. Nathan asked for Indiana Jones: The Adventure Continues. He put it outside of his door. The next morning, a note came from Fred. Fred told him that he was a good boy and to keep up the great work. He told him that since he had given a toy, he would get a similar toy.
The next morning, Nathan woke up to a Bakugan. A dark one, as they are cooler. (but what do I know?) And he also woke up to THIS. I couldn't begin to tell you how amazed he was. Seeing Santa talking directly to HIM. Mentioning things only Fred would have known. He was so excited. I was so happy to see such pure joy in his face.
I know that some kids his age have started to not believe. I was his age when I found out that Santa wasn't real. But as I've gotten older, that it's not the idea that you don't believe that Santa isn't real, but the idea that you don't believe in the spirit of Christmas.
The Christmas spirit runs deeper now than it ever did with me. And I am passing this along to Nathan. Will he find out someday? Perhaps. But not this year. I want him to keep thinking about Fred and to be conscious of his actions. I am never negative about Fred if he misbehaves or doesn't do as he's told. I always say, "Well, let's think about that for a minute....what do you think Fred would tell Santa?" But I also love the fact that he believes. It is a powerful and lovely thing. I hope that with Fred, I am building memories that he will recall when he is older, maybe even with children of his own. I will be sitting in my chair, with a few (I hope!) grandchildren at my feet and I will reweave the tale of Fred to them and see the magic in their eyes. One can hope and I have the power of Fred to make it happen.