Grandpa Frost
30 December, 2010
 Grandpa Frost

As a child brought up in the Soviet Union, I knew of no Santa Claus. I had never heard of Christmas, Catholic or Orthodox. We celebrated the New Year - that was our holiday.
I knew of ‘Grandpa Frost’ (Äåä Ìîðîç) and his female counterpart, or perhaps girlfriend, as I was never quite sure or interested in their relationship, Snow Maiden (Ñíåãóðî÷êà). I was four years old when I started to suspect something was fishy in the Snow Kingdom. I listened

to the grown ups whispering about getting just the right gifts and about finding the right Granpa Frost.  I thought if the parents were the ones getting gifts, then what was the man in the sleigh doing?  Was it childish to believe in a man with a long white beard dressed in all white, hanging out on the streets of Moscow, riding in his sleigh, delivering presents to all the little children? Probably! But remember, I was a child. There was no getting around it, no matter what I tried. When I inquired as to who was this Grandpa Frost really, I was given the same answer from everyone:  you will find out when you are older. But time just moves slower when you are a kid. It feels like you have to wait an eternity to grow up. So when I was five, I decided to catch the man. I waited for 7 o’clock when the bell rang on our door and ran to catch Grandpa Frost depositing my gift at the door. I was not fast enough. I waited another long year just as determined as ever, and when I was six I tried it again, but the downstairs door slammed shut as soon as I flung our apartment door open. I ran to the window and tried to look out, as far out as I could through a frost-covered window, but I couldn’t see anything. I did hear the bells ringing on the sleigh fading down the street, but that didn’t prove anything either way. Was that the real Grandpa Frost or just some guy working on commission?
Although I didn’t manage to expose a fraud that was in my mind Grandpa Frost, that year was the year I got a small blue piano as my gift. All in all I have a very vague recollection of all the New Year celebrations, but that little blue piano was something I have never forgotten. I had not told anyone I wanted it, because at that time even though I was hell-bent on proving the nonexistence of Grandpa Frost, I was secretly unsure of my own intent. I had asked Grandpa Frost for the little blue piano when I went to bed right before the New Years Eve. Part of me thought I could catch Grandpa Frost at bringing me the wrong gift, yet another part of me really wanted the little blue piano. I don’t know when or how my parents figured me out, but at six years of age, I thought it was the infallible Grandpa Frost and Snow Maiden who made my dreams of the little blue piano come true.
As the years went by and I got older, my parents got bolder and reveled themselves to be Grandpa Frost and Snow Maiden. I can’t say I was disappointed, I always suspected them, but the gifts were good and as long as they stayed good, I saw no reason to get upset at being deceived. My little sister, on the other hand, cried for days.
Years later the Grandpa Frost and Snow Maiden are still giving gifts, except now they do it on Christmas day and they don’t hide behind costumes and make-belief. The little blue piano makes an appearance once in a while to remind us of the good old times and to bring forth the New Year - as the times just keep getting better.

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