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barriebramleyby Barrie Bramley , a father, a husband and an eager student in the art of loving life. His passion is to create and see the world differently. From time to time he writes for ‘‘Jozikids’. Visit Barrie on his  web or twitter page.

I can feel it coming in the air,
decorations everywhere,
little children start to smile,
it wont be long, just a little while.

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter who you are, or what your philosophies might be, when Christmas starts making it’s entrance, all of us, every last one, begins to feel a flutter somewhere deep down in our tummies. And yes, Christmas is over-the-top commercial, and we probably don’t really understand it’s origins, and it is all make believe. But those are exactly the three elements needed to create tummy fluttering stuff. Money, Mystery and a monster dose of Imagination.

In our home we have 2 believers and 2 non-believers. Let me explain. Last Christmas, Jordan (our 9 year old daughter), worked it all out. I don’t know exactly what it was, but when a 9 year old corners you with the ‘is it all really true?’ you have to come clean. Fudging it is simply not an option. I’ve watched too many other parents crash and burn, spectacularly, in an attempt to keep it all alive for ‘just one more year’. Cognitively everything is starting to fall into place when you turn 9 years old, and the mystery and imagination are being challenged. Of course nobody ever challenges the money. I’ve never heard anyone, no matter how cynical, say anything like, ‘I don’t believe in this gumpf, so please don’t give me a present this year.’ Not gonna happen. Ever!

My wife, Leisha, is also over the mystery and imagination, and she’s almost as convinced as Jordan that Father Christmas is not the real deal.untitled

And then there’s Carli (our 6 year old) and me. We’re the believers. Since these two beautiful little girls joined our family, I’ve found myself slipping back into the mystery and imagination. Last year I think I might have even seen Santa, Rudolph, Prancer and the gang fly over the Drakensberg. I can’t say for sure, and I don’t have any photographic evidence, but somewhere deep down inside I just knew. Like Wendy knew Peter Pan. That kind of knowing.

My life has been richer for letting go of my ‘smartness’ and embracing some ‘make believe’. If you’re a parent you know there’s nothing more satisfying in the world than escaping with one of your kids into ‘their world’. It’s exciting, because you’ve never been there, and they know it intimately. It’s welcoming, because the king or queen of the land you’re visiting also happens to be the creator of it. It’s satisfying, because you get to do the most amazing things. Things you’d probably never attempt in your world.

Christmas for Carli and I is one massive adventure. Carli begins to enter Christmas-land when the shops kick into tinsel and decoration over-drive. The earlier they start, the earlier Carli enters in. And I can’t help myself. Her energy for a Christmas adventure is infectious.

So where am I going in this short little Christmas meander? It’s this. I often think we’ve missed what Christmas is all about. It’s become one of those happenings in which the fringe and the crazies use it to take pot-shots at each other. Because when you strip it all away and get down to what’s common…..it’s this: Money, Mystery and Imagination.

barrie and famChristmas is a wonderful opportunity to enter into Christmas-land and to discover all the wonder that exists within. I’ve learned that the young and the old are the true believers. Everyone in between plays along, but they’re still too proud of their discovery that it probably wasn’t all true. But as they get older, if there is still some warm blood flowing through their veins, perhaps it’s a law of life that we begin to re-challenge our thinking and let a little make-believe sneak in?

A wonderful Christmas to you. Make sure you surround yourself with the young and the old. Without them Christmas degenerates into academic debate about who’s smarter than you. But the real magic sits in the imagination and the mystery. Jump in. Boots and all. Get lost. Don’t worry if you do, because if there are any children around, they know Christmas-land intimately. They’ll guide you through. They always do. They always do.

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