When it comes to Christmas, I’m a bit of a Humbug/Grinch/Scrooge. I’m not a big fan of Christmas. Growing up, I was afraid of Santa and refused to get a picture with him (I didn’t get a picture with Santa until I was maybe 15). I think I always knew he was fake, and as if the fake white beard tricks anyone. For years in University, I worked at the mall and that made me aware of just how commercial Christmas had become. People talked about a season of giving and gifts, yet all I saw were angry people spending more than they should. I became bitter and disillusioned. I couldn’t stand the Christmas music, because I had spent eight hours a day for five days listening to it non-stop at work. It was at this point that I asked my family to consider drawing names for Christmas instead of buying unnecessary gifts. One is enough, especially as an adult. A real Humbug.
To this day, I prefer National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation over Elf any day. In enters Matt Haig’s book, given to me by a co-worker and friend, A Boy Called Christmas.
In this novel, Nikolas (born on Christmas Day and so called Christmas as a nickname) does not ever let his belief in magic and goodness falter. As his father leaves on a royal expedition to prove that elves do exist in the north, Nikolas is left along with his wretched aunt and so he runs away to find his father, with his pet mouse. Along the way he meets a reindeer that becomes his friend. When he eventually finds the elves, his belief in goodness and magic is challenged. Yet, his belief in magic does not falter and he decides to risk his life to save that of another, the ultimate gift.
In the end, Nikolas becomes Father Christmas and lives and works with the elves and eventually determines that he needs to share his happiness and magic with the human world. And so the story of Christmas gifts delivered by Santa on a sleigh is born.
I appreciated Haig’s book because it was funny, it had pictures, and it reminded me that Christmas is fun. Believing in Santa and flying reindeer is fun. Waiting with painful expectation to open gifts is fun. Getting together with family and seeing the joy in their faces as they open gifts is fun.
At the end of the day, Christmas is about being with loved ones and reminding ourselves that it’s ok to believe in magic, at least for one day of the year.
“An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet” (Matt Haig).
“A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).