When I was a kid, the week before Christmas felt interminable, while I waited eagerly for the night Santa came down the chimney with mounds of new toys for my sister and me. I always had a hard time falling asleep Christmas Eve. I remember lying awake one Christmas Eve, listening intently, and at the stroke of midnight I could have sworn I heard the sound of hooves landing on the roof.
I also remember the stage when I began to clue in about the secret behind Santa, though I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the magic. This was around 1980, when The Muppet Show was one of my must-see TV programs, and the one thing I really wanted for Christmas was a Kermit the Frog doll. It was the only thing I asked the mall Santa to bring me. To shore up my chances, I made sure to tell my mother what I’d asked Santa for.
Lo and behold, I found Kermit under the tree Christmas morning. (My sister got Animal, the drummer from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem). Was it Santa who had granted my request? Was it Mom? Who could be sure?
My best friend, Jennifer, received a Kermit too. We played with our Kermits for hours and brought them everywhere with us, even to summer camp. The doll was about 14” tall and had Velcro fasteners on his feet and hands, so I could hang him or prop him up in all kinds of places. I dressed him in baby doll clothes so he didn’t have to be naked all the time.
Kermit is still with me but spends most of his time in a box now. All these years later, he’s in pretty good shape. Whenever I see him, I smile, thinking back on a time when the magic of Christmas was real. And he reminds me to enjoy the magic through my kids’ eyes for as long as it lasts.