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.
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.
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.