Her eight-year old daughter still believes in Santa. And for the past seven years, it’s worked out well that the little girl travels to a winter wonderland each Christmas. Her father’s house in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada have snow-covered roof, twinkling lights, and a chimney. At the time, it made sense to explain to a curious four year- old asking “why” for the first time- that Santa comes to daddy’s house because it is so close to the North Pole.
As a result and despite their parenting plan, Mom had never had Christmas with her daughter. Instead, every year she’d pack a suitcase – that dwarfs the little girl in size- full of snow boots, jackets, sweaters, and scarves. Georgia winters can’t compare to a snowy tundra. That suitcase always included a few wrapped presents and any of the holiday crafts made at school. It was always a small sacrifice each year to put her on a plane, but that little girl only saw her dad about twice a year. Giving her a traditional white Christmas when she still believes in Santa, was always worth it.
Because her daughter had spent the holidays with her dad, she never invested in decorations or wacky Christmas sweaters; She didn’t even have a single ornament. Because her daughter was always gone, she didn’t bother decorating the house.
So, when COVID19 canceled all the international flights, She wasn’t prepared for their first Christmas.
Suddenly, she had to buy a tree and look up sugar cookie recipes. It became her job to develop creative ways to display Sammy the Elf around the house. She was a spy sneaking in presents and wrapping paper under her inquisitive daughter’s nose. They hung stockings on the mantle of a never used fireplace and garland along the stairs. They baked cookies and played games.
Her daughter wrote letters to Santa, and insisted she explain why Santa needed to travel to their small town in Georgia this year. Her letter insisted he wear a mask when going from house to house to stay safe.
And on the night before Christmas, her daughter was tucked into bed, she was struck with the knowledge how special and chaotic this year has been. COVID19 has impacted all, and harshly. It has taken significantly from everyone: time, money, loved ones. But it also gave her a first Christmas with her child.
And so, Santa came to Georgia this year.