Twenty minutes of magic: the timeless tradition of Christmas anticipation


Ah, the palpable excitement of being a child on Christmas morning, eagerly waiting to burst into a living room like a herd of reindeer dashing through the snow. For me, those 20 minutes of anticipation were, without a doubt, the most enchanting moments of the entire year.

I can vividly recall those mornings. My parents’ tradition was that they first had to check that Santa had come the night before. So, there we stood, my three other siblings and I, wide-eyed and bubbling with anticipation, while our parents played the role of Santa’s gatekeepers. One door separating us from Christmas magic.

One door separating us from Christmas magic.

Twenty minutes might as well have been an eternity in kid-time. It was also filled with a symphony of emotions — anticipation, joy, impatience, and an overwhelming sense of wonder. The clock seemed to tick slower than usual, teasing us with the promise of the magical moment to come.

I remember stealing glances through the keyhole, trying to make out the size or colour of the presents.

The wait felt endless, yet strangely wonderful. It was a time of shared excitement, whispered speculations about what Santa might have left for us, and the sheer delight of being together as a family, on the brink of something truly magical.

Now, as a parent, I find myself on the other side of this tradition. My kids, just as I once did, wait at the top of the stairs while I sneak downstairs to start the coffee with my husband. With each sip and delay before the eagerly awaited words “you can come down now,” we relish in the knowledge that their anticipation, and their joy, will become lifelong memories of forthcoming magic.

Christmas morning routine gives me a wave of nostalgia

It’s not just about the gifts awaiting them in the living room; it’s about these fleeting moments of shared anticipation, the joy of the unknown, and the warmth of being surrounded by love.

In the grand scheme of things, the true essence of the holidays isn’t wrapped in fancy paper or shiny ribbons. It’s about these rare, seemingly insignificant moments that carve their way into the deepest corners of our minds, creating memories of joy, togetherness, and the magic of anticipation.

So, here’s to those 20 minutes of suspended excitement, to the giggles and the whispers, to the moments that live on in our hearts long after the wrapping paper has been torn away. These are the little moments that make the holiday season truly magical.


The honest talk