Many of my childhood friends grew up excited for Santa’s arrival. They made their lists and checked them twice, baked cookies and left them on the table before going to bed eagerly awaiting the excitement of waking up to find Santa’s gifts under their Christmas tree. A few months later, these same friends were excited for their Easter Egg Hunts and chocolate-filled Easter baskets.
My childhood experiences were also fun but different because I am Jewish. My family lit the menorah and recited the corresponding prayer before receiving one gift on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. A few months later, we then celebrated Passover, a holiday that began with friends and family gathering for the traditional Seder and Festive Meal.
Fast forward 20+ years when I am now a mother, and my daughter lost her first tooth. She was excited and couldn’t wait to go to bed so that the Tooth Fairy would come while she slept. My husband and I did all the traditional things, and she was very excited to wake up and find a few dollars and a letter from the Tooth Fairy under her pillow.
I was beyond excited about this first lost tooth, possibly even more than my daughter. It was a strange level of enthusiasm that I didn’t understand until a few weeks later when I realized that I was excited about the innocent fun of inviting a fictional character, the Tooth Fairy, into my home for the first time.
For me, this Tooth Fairy experience is what I imagine my Christian friends experience when Santa and the Easter Bunny visit their kids for the first time. It was pure innocence for my daughter, and later my son. As to be expected, they figured out the truth, and just like that, the Tooth Fairy no longer came to visit our home anymore.
On this Christmas Eve Day, as I remember the fun of my heartwarming Tooth Fairy experiences, I’m thinking about all the parents who are about to have their own similar experiences. I wish them endless fun as they watch their kids rip open gifts from the big-bellied man with the long white beard. And for the kids awaiting Santa’s arrival for the first time (or the first time that they are big enough to know he’s coming), I wish them a fast night sleep and lots of fun and excitement when they wake up tomorrow morning.
For all who celebrate, I wish you a Merry Christmas! And for those who don’t, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Festivus to the rest of us. Best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy 2020!