Every year I try to avoid the crazy stress of the the holidays and recapture the magic of Christmas. “Oh, sure,” you’re thinking. With the cards and the decorating, when do I have time? I have my moments when I am swept up and experience that wonderful feeling where anything is possible. You can too.
One year when I was a little kid, my dad drove us around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. As we approached the top of the hill, he told my sister, Patty, and me that Santa Claus came early this year. I pressed my nose against the cold window and glimpsed Christmas lights twinkling behind our building. When he opened the apartment door, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Santa had come while we were away. Loads of presents lay under the tinseled tree. I never saw those Christmas lights behind our apartment again, but from that night on I knew Santa decorated his sleigh with Christmas lights. I believed.
Flash forward to fifth grade. Ms. Shavink introduced herself to our class and gave us a preview to the coming year including “Becoming a Person,” classes; Catholic sex-ed classes without the sex.
“How many of you still believe in Santa?” she asked. I sprang from my chair and looked around at only four other kids. The rest of the class laughed hysterically. To say that I was embarrassed would be logical, but I argued with my friends about the magic of Christmas during every recess until I ran home after school.
I asked my mom about it. “Of course, there’s no Santa Claus. I thought you knew.” I ate my afternoon snack in disbelief. Magic had represented hope, possibilities, and miracles. The world seemed duller. Grayer. Less fun.
That was the worst Christmas ever.
I grew up.
I endured those non-sex-ed classes and learned all kinds of horrible things like I was going to bleed once a month, forever. It took me a while longer to find out how babies were made. I had a harder time believing that couples actually engaged in that sort of activity than Santa didn’t exist.
When I had my own children, I recaptured the magic of Christmas.
Remembering the colorful lights that night behind our apartment, I tossed as many strings of holiday lights as our trees could hold. Okay, so that’s not true since I literally threw them. But, our home made the top 10 list for Christmas lights several years running.
Danny and I owned a toy and school supply business in Denver so he would bring trash bags of gifts home on Christmas Eve. We would stay up until 4:00 AM wrapping them since that’s what his Santa Claus did. I still yawn just thinking about how I lost that argument, every year.
On Christmas morning, we made the kids sit on the stairs and wait until all the relatives were dressed. Then, after what must have seemed like a lifetime and with the camcorder rolling, we’d let them run in their footy pajamas to the tree. The joy on their faces reflected the magic was alive and well in the Lindau household.
The summer before fifth grade we had the sex talk with our children and let them down about Santa. They were wide eyed about sex but already knew about the jolly fellow. Kids these days.
That didn’t stop me from keeping the magic alive.
After taking a tour of Patsy Ramsey’s house on a holiday home tour, (yes, THE Patsy Ramsey), I discovered decorating could be taken up a huge notch. Read this post to find out how she ruined my life. After the tour, I made wreaths, swags and sashed out our entire home. I added lights to all the greenery to make the house twinkle from the inside out.
Illustrating Christmas cards captures magic too. Have you seen what we are doing in some of these cards? That’s called artistic license. Creating something out of nothing more than paper and a felt tip is magical too. Especially for me, since I’m terrified before drawing them every year. I worry that I won’t be able to pull it off let alone get any likenesses of the family.
Suspension of disbelief.
We have all experienced this while reading or watching movies. In Elf, I still get a rush when Buddy, Will Ferrell, shows his dad, James Caan, that Santa is real, alive, and well. When he rides in Santa’s sleigh over New Yorkers in Central Park, my heart always swells. I’m in the moment and believe.
Imagine it, embrace it, believe in your dreams and you might be surprised.
Thing is, miracles do happen. I’m sure you have your stories. I have mine. There are times in our lives when we need to hold onto the hope of the farfetched, the unreachable, the impossible goal. Suspend disbelief. For a moment, magic will feel real to you too.
Every so often, when unpacking a garland or setting up my Christmas village, I am swept up into that giant hug of Christmas. I’m a kid again who believes in magic. Anything is possible. Instead of hoping for tons of gifts under the Christmas tree, I’m grateful for family who comes to share the holidays. I hope for continued health, dreams coming true, and many Christmas celebrations to come.
Sometimes we even jump for joy!
Christmas is a magical time of year. Don’t let it slip past you. Slow down and enjoy the moments.
When your heart swells, you’re filled with joy, or you feel like a little kid again, you will know that you have discovered magic this holiday season. You might have even suspended disbelief. Then, anything is possible.