Once upon a time, a long time ago….a little girl I once knew, easily believed in the magic of Christmas. She knew September meant school and October was for costumes, followed by November for a grand feast with relatives she rarely saw but loved quite dearly. Then some time later, in December, Christmas began to happen all around her. Lights went up on the block, the whole family piled in the big brown van in search of a fresh tree, perfect tissue art ornaments were made in school, and grand church events were attended. The magic of the season continued without effort at all! Favorite Christmas music was played in the home, caramel corn tempted little fingers, and even handmade cards complete with children’s handprints were finished and sent out on time! Best of all was Dad dressing as Santa and all of us secretly delivering gifts to a family in need. Oh how she loved this time of year more than anything. All that good Christmas spirit filled her with excitement and anticipation.
But then the years passed on and she grew up. She never grew tired of loving Christmas, but there is no doubt the sparkle began to fade. She got married and had children and her love and joy grew and grew. But quite at the same time, the magic she once knew was harder and harder to find.
Now don’t get me wrong, she anticipated the season with great gusto and big plans. She would say to herself in October (and sometimes July,) “It will all get done, I swear! The lights and the cookies and every last handmade gift! I will fill the stockings with just the right thing…you’ll see!” And then the great holiday kick-off feast (also known as Thanksgiving) would come and go and the reality would simply sink into the little girl-at-heart. For all the making and baking in the world would not recapture the magic as she once knew. It’s not that she didn’t try. She tried it different every year as a matter of fact! Some years too much, some years scaled back, some years giving and some just a bit reserved. But that simple magic, well, it was just a tad bit out of her reach.
But then one year (one quite recent in fact!) a light went on as she was trimming the tree. Harry for the Holidays and baked apple pie candle warmed up her home. Her beautiful, wonderful, happy new home and she looked and she saw three boys eyes lit up with the Magic of Christmas! “But of course!” she thought to herself and silently thanked her mom and dad for the years they put in to making Christmas seem effortless and allowing their little ones to feel the MAGIC without a to-do list worry or care in the world!
And THAT is the story of how I came to understand the reason why I look forward to this time of year so much and yet inevitably find myself overwhelmed anyway. I will always be searching for that simple Christmas magic and in the process, hopefully be creating it for the ones who matter to me most. Merry Christmas boys! (and thank-you so much Mom and Dad for the very best memories of Christmas!)