Christmas memories

We all have childhood Christmases we remember warmly and which influence the way we see and experience the magic with our own children today.

My first winter

I spent the first five years of my life in Africa, living in a small village where my father grew up. In his country, there is no snow and Christmas isn’t celebrated. My parents still tried to recreate the magic of Christmas with my brother and I, telling us about the snow, Santa and the traditions that exist around the world. On Christmas mornings, I would have the pleasure of discovering presents that were sent to me by my family in Canada. At that age, I truly believed Santa was Canadian.

The first winter following our return to Canada, I was waiting for the first snow with trepidation. I couldn’t wait to finally see it, and to touch it. My mother still tells me fondly how when the snow finally came, I was so amazed that I threw myself passionately into it head first without caring about the cold.

Christmas Eve

In my Canadian family, Christmas is a festive fairytale event that is experienced with passion and a whole lot of love. I had so far had a rather vague notion of the whole thing, but I found myself suddenly drawn into all the festivities thanks to my grand-parents, uncles and aunts who really wanted me to experience this magical Holiday.

We lived in an apartment on the fifth floor and my grandparents lived on the floor above us. When I went up to see them, proud in my princess dress, my grandmother exclaimed in a mysterious tone « Santa hasn’t been by your house yet? He just came back! I didn’t even have time to see, he was so fast! ». Surprised, I grabbed a hold of her pinkie (my grand-mother has a magical power that allows her to communicate directly with Santa, but don’t tell anyone!) and I told her very seriously « But grandma, I forgot to ask Santa for the present I really want! I want a mini-computer! » Believing we could be fast enough to catch Santa in action, we ran down the stairs at full speed with beating hearts and our cheeks flushed with excitement.

The surprise

I will never forget that moment. We open the door, slowly. I see the candy on the floor, forming a path of treats to our Christmas tree. Our tree, now with a mountain of beautiful presents, decorated with multicolored ribbons, sparkling bows and pearls. Then, from the corner of my eye, I see red, there, in my patio door! Santa Claus lost his hat trying to get away when he heard us came. I whisper to my mother how lucky I am, and that all my friends will be so jealous that I actually have the REAL Santa Claus’ hat.

But when I unwrap my presents, I finally get the tangible proof that Santa is real. My greatest wish has come true: My Santa remembered to bring me my mini-computer! The magic is real after all!


The mini-computer that convinced me so was actually a Minnie Mouse calculator my mom had gotten me because I liked to count. When I look back on it fondly, I remember the surprised and worried look my grandmother gave me when I told her I wanted that mini-computer when the presents had already been purchased and placed under the tree. When I came home to see if Santa has passed by, I actually saw my uncle hiding in my laundry room and I paused, hesitating. I think my child’s mind unconsciously ignored those signs because I really wanted to experience the magic I had dreamed of for so long. This first family Christmas had made the whole Holiday very significant for me and I want to recreate that feeling with my family today. I want to see my girls, their eyes bright, hearts filled with joy, believing in Santa and his magic with their father and me.

Image de Mariem Melainine

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