It was the Summer of 1990.
I was 8 years old, an only child, and, no doubt, the picture of innocence — with perhaps a hint of spoilt brat thrown in for good fun (sorry Mum).
I had long, curly, brown hair that hung like spaghetti down my back. My face was freckled and my cheeks glowed pink, as a result of being kissed too many times by the Australian sun. I had ballerina fingers and gangly arms that seemed somehow longer than my legs. Yep. I was just a regular, Aussie kid.
But my eyes. Oh, my big, blue eyes. There was nothing regular about those. They were as bright as the summer sky.
Do you want to know why?
Because they were full of magic. The magic of Christmas.
Pure, delicious, magic.
I mean, before today, did you know what Noel spelt backward was?
But as wonderful as that is, we must get back to my story.
Where were we? Ah, that’s right.
Now, in 1990, when I was that curly haired picture of innocence, I’d begun to hear whispers. Very loud whispers. They came from the kids at school. You see, the kids at school all said that Santa was not real.
But that’s what they said.
I told my Mum—my best friend— what these other children had been saying. I looked up at her, my eyes a little wider than usual, and I just came out with it.
‘Tell me the truth, Mum. You really are Santa, aren’t you?’
Of course, I had hoped her answer would be no. But I was old enough. It was time that I knew the truth.
‘Okay. Yes, I am Santa,’ she said, her eyes squinty with apprehension. ‘But just because Santa is not real, that does not mean that the magic of Christmas is not. Do you hear me?’
And she was right.
Still, I was sad.
There was no Santa. He wasn’t real, after all.
But I was old enough to know. I was brave enough to move on.
One day, not long after, I was playing alone in my room when my Mum— my best friend— came to me. We played for a while, just us girls, you know. And then she said something that made me laugh. She said this.
‘Santa really is real, you know. I believe that he is.’ She smiled at me, picked up a doll and continued to play, like nothing had happened. Had she just tried to make Santa real again?
‘Mum!’ I cackled. ‘I know Santa is not real! You already told me. You can’t take that back!’
‘Why can’t I? He is real,’ she said, her eyes full of mischief and fun. ‘Maybe I do give you presents, but I still believe that Santa is real.’
We left it at that. I went on knowing that Santa was not real, but believing in my heart that he really truly was.
That was the most beautiful Christmas gift my Mum ever gave me. The magic of Christmas.
And now, I’m giving that same magic to you. Because as we head into December and the new year edges that little bit closer, it’s always nice to know that you have a little magic in your corner.
Just think of what you might be able to do with it!