Christmas Traditions: Panda Day

posted in: Family, Holidays, Kids | 4

What’s black and white and red all over? A panda in a Santa costume of course.

What? You’ve never heard of the Christmas Panda? Well, I feel pretty sorry for you. Because he’s awesome. He brings presents after Christmas, along with a feast of assorted meats and cheeses and grilled pineapple, mimosas, board game fun, and the option to attend the festivities in your jammies, if you feel so inclined.

christmas panda
Panda Day a few years ago. Michael didn’t appreciate wearing the mascot’s hat.

Panda Day is part of our Christmastime tradition. It started a few years ago with my husband’s family as time set aside to celebrate just with his parents and siblings. See, both my husband and I are blessed (and usually not cursed) to have a very large chunk of our extended families here in St. Louis, which means Christmas Eve and Christmas day are practically scheduled down to the minute. So eventually we had the brilliant idea that it was really okay to celebrate part of our Christmas AFTER the actual day. And it has turned out to be a well-loved tradition. Today was our Merry Panda Day.

deer
The “reindeer” that appeared in our backyard

On the way home tonight, I was thinking of all the Christmas traditions we are not only passing on to our kids, but also creating for our kids. I wonder which memories will stay with them, which moments are helping to write the stories of their childhoods? Christmastime is always an indelible chapter in those stories. We try so hard to create magical and perfect holiday moments for our kids to fondly remember. Sometimes those are the visions they hold dear. But sometimes magic happens even when we are not trying. For example, twice this month my kids spied a giant buck in our backyard. We are used to occasionally seeing does and their young, but hardly ever are we treated to the antlered version. And the coincidental fact that this buck made himself known so close to Christmas, and the fact that he could easily be mistaken for a reindeer by my kids, made for pure yule tide delight. Grace was sure it was Prancer checking out our roof for the best place to land on the big night. There is nothing I could have ever orchestrated to make her believe in Christmas magic more than that simple and perfectly timed sighting. Although I do think the phone call from Santa (a.k.a. our friend Bob) that comes every year does a pretty good job as well. There is always that perfect mix of fear and wonder in their eyes at the first booming sound of Bob’s voice on the other end of the line.

We would have the Christmas Panda call too, but well,…who the heck knows what a panda sounds like? That would be an awkward conversation. Besides, he is kind of lazy. He only brings presents to us, and often waits until the after-Christmas sales to do his shopping. Ah, the magic of Panda Day.

4 Responses

  1. It seems funny to say this but for the first time I got into really “believing” in the same sense as my kids did. It was a series of movies we watched (The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street) and how for the first time the Elf on the Shelf wasn’t just another thing I had to remember to do. Last year, that’s exactly what it was. A chore. One more thing in my already packed Christmas schedule. This year it was pure joy to hear the kids thundering around the house trying to find the elf and see what he had been up to. In fact I was teeming with so many magical ideas that I was sadder than the kids to see the elf go. So my theme for this past Christmas: I believe!

  2. That is fantastic Fez! I was not so into the Elf this year unfortunately. Maybe next year I’ll find it in me to get a bit more creative with him for my kids’ sake! I saw some of your pics…you had some great ideas I’ll have to steal!

  3. […] fuzzy white beard, and a red shirt. I couldn’t believe my luck! Last year we happened upon a reindeer in our backyard just before Christmas, and now this! So I announced to the kids, “Look who is driving the car […]

  4. […] The fact that Santa is not a real person will not change the way we celebrate Christmas. We will still make lists, still bake cookies, still receive gifts, and still watch for reindeer in our backyard. […]

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