Around this time of year, I like to haul out my favorite Christmas video. Full of warmth, humor, suspense, and enduring holiday cheer, it speaks to the true meaning of Christmas.
Its runtime? 1.23 minutes.
I enjoy it because, like most of my life’s best things, it wasn’t planned. An elf shot it after my three-year old son Vinnie and I strolled over to tell Santa hello.
I bought it then because it captured the extraordinary beauty of an ordinary day, and the perfect suitability of a three-year old as ambassador to Christmas.
We’d walked downtown that day, his mittened right hand wrapped around my left pointer finger. He wore the Wisconsin mandated uniform for small children, Oshkosh B’gosh overalls and a warm hooded coat. We cut through the Avenue Mall on our way home and spotted Santa there.
Later, we’d go grocery shopping and I’d curse the wily marketers who armed each store with child sized carts that accidentally rammed unsuspecting ankles at inopportune times. We’d read a story or two, listen for train whistles, and he’d take a little snooze while we waited for his older brother and sister to come home from school.
He’d tell them all about his chat with Santa, how he’d put in a good word for each of them and scored a candy cane. He’d tell the story again for his father that night and he’d wonder a little, as he lay on the bottom bunk bed in the room he shared with his older brother, whether Santa’s elves were working on his Thomas the Tank Engine train set at that very moment.
Both Christmas magic and three-year olds thrive on innocence and faith. They hit their peak during these dark days of December, when you’re too tired to write clever things in your Christmas cards and your kitchen smells of popcorn you burnt last night. If you can’t find a three-year old to help you wonder if Santa’s boots will crack the clay tiles on your roof (though actual three-year olds are the very best pre-Christmas companions), just take a few minutes to think like one.
In the meantime, please enjoy this video on the 20th anniversary of its release.
Happy birthday Vinnie. We’re grateful for every ordinary day you made extraordinary.
In honor of Vinnie’s 23rd (what??) birthday today I’m including a picture or two…