Today was Thanksgiving, and the family and I spent the morning in NYC enjoying the festivities of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the midtown offices of my company. The announced crowd of 250 people at the parade viewing party enjoyed the view from the 16th floor overlooking Broadway, the floats, ballons and bands marching by. Food and drink were abundant, and the kids (all 100 of them) in attendance were treated to face painting, magicians, puppeteers and a visit from Santa Claus.
Ah yes, jolly ol' Saint Nick. My childhood image of holiday cheer has become a bone of contention in my adult life. Now that my kids are old enough to recognize him, the concept of Santa during the holidays has been challenging. Until this year, we've been able to avoid any direct contact with Kris Kringle, shuffling the kids through the mall past the mile-long line for pictures on Santa's lap. But this year, we came face-to-face with it.
Santa visited the 16th floor today with gifts for every child in attendance at the party (a special thanks again to my most generous boss). Hannah Montana has nothing on this guy. Kids were wall to wall in the hallway outside the elevator and as soon as the doors opened, my daughters - who knew of Santa only through tales from their Gentile friends at school and the occassional Dora holiday episode - screamed in delight like I've never heard before. Santa rolled his flatbed cart off the elevator and proceeded to call out the names of every child in attendance, presenting them with a gift. My oldest received Pediatrician Barbie; my youngest, a Cinderella dress up kit.
The kids were ecstatic. My oldest yelled out "Santa is so cool!" And as I looked at them I realized that they haven't yet drawn the definitive line of separation bewteen Hanukkah and Christmas, so I was content with enjoying their excitement. But this time of year also reminds me that my kids will never put out cookies and milk, never leave a note and a list by the fireplace, never hang a stocking with their name on it and rush downstairs fervently to tear open the goodies spilling out from the top.
However, that's okay - because those are my memories, and I'll always have them and hold them close; and I'll make new holiday memories with my kids that we'll define together, that they'll grow up to cherish. Maybe Hanukklaus would enjoy a refreshing seltzer and knish as he passes through this year.