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Frankly Fatherhood – Holiday Magic

There are days I find it challenging to find joy in our daily rat-race routines. I get hung up on getting everyone out the door on time, caught up on bargaining for extra screen time, stuck refereeing the latest sibling squabble, or trapped into another argument over finishing a meal. Over time, I start questioning myself…how did I turn into this disgruntled dad? It’s far too easy to get engrossed in the grouchy grind, so I need to make a conscious effort to take pause and find joy. And what better time to make this effort than over the holidays?

The juxtaposition of joy and holidays is not lost on me. Christmas tends to be one of the most stressful times for us parents. We worry so much about travel, meals, and playing Santa that we easily forget about the magic of the season. Yes, you heard it right, this crusty crab DOES believe in magic. And this holiday season, I urge you to join me and truly see the wonder and enchantment of the holidays – just like we did when we were kids.

I remember Christmases in our little house in Toronto. We didn’t have a fireplace and I was so worried Santa couldn’t get into our home. My mom assured me that Santa would always find a way…and he did. Every Christmas Eve the front doorbell would ring and my mom would urge my younger siblings and me to see who it was. Upon opening the door, our wide eyes met with piles of presents from Santa. I distinctly remember one year I leaped over the presents at the door, ran down the front steps, and looked up in the sky, determined to catch Santa and his sleigh as he left our rooftop. My mom managed to keep the magic alive for a long time this way and looking back, I’m very grateful.

Now as parents, we get the chance to recreate the magic of our childhood holidays – both for our kids and for ourselves. I am looking forward to soaking in some joy as we decorate our tree together, write letters to Santa, or carefully set milk and cookies by the fireplace. And nothing compares to the purest form of absolute joy and uncontainable excitement that is Christmas morning. These moments of magic won’t be around for many more years so NOW is the time for us to invest in and enjoy them.

The happiness that fills their little faces – and warms my soul – is the true reason for the season. I hope that these are the moments my boys will always remember (and maybe write about) when they have their own families or are seeking moments of joy. So as the holidays creep up on us, let’s be mindful, let’s be present, and let’s enjoy the magic of holidays like a kid, with our kids.

Wishing you all a most magical of holidays!


Frank Emanuele is a proud father of two boys, a special education teacher, and a director of Dad Club London.


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