Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chasing the Magic of the Season

Here we are, a week from Christmas Eve. Just seven more days to get shopping done, wrap gifts, mail greeting cards, bake up holiday treats, deck the halls, plan special meals, and strive to recreate the magic of Christmas as defined by our childhood experiences. It’s fun and a little stressful, isn’t it?

The absence of end-of-year panic at work makes it much easier for us to enjoy the holiday season. Now we have time to search out opportunities for festive activities far away from shopping malls and unnecessary commercialism. Sure, it’s fun to window shop while store displays are so creative and glamorous. But the frenzy in the stores (yikes, you should see the crowds on Michigan Avenue) can suck the holiday spirit right out of you. Where have we been successful in finding Christmas cheer?

After Thanksgiving, we shopped for wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows, while the selection was still abundant. I enjoy color-coordinating everything, and planning how to wrap beautiful presents for our extended family. We loaded our iPods with hours and hours (actually, DAYS worth) of seasonal music. The fireplace mantel is decorated, and our stockings are hung. Yes, Santa still does Christmas stockings for us (and for my mother). Last Sunday, we went to the theater to see a stage performance of “A Christmas Carol. We both cried when Bob Cratchit suffered the death of Tiny Tim, and exulted in the rebirth of Scrooge’s faith. The timeless tale works for us every time. During walks in our neighborhood, we point out Christmas lights to each other, and ooh and ahh over twinkling trees seen in apartment windows. Snowfall generates wonder and excitement (and a few groans when there’s enough to shovel). Ron and I never tire of telling each other stories of Christmases past, when our parents made everything so memorable and special.

We’ll never exactly recapture the magic of those Christmases as children, but we have nurtured our own traditions that echo and enhance our treasured memories. Our hope for you this year is that you enjoy the season, remember the best of Christmases past, and keep looking for new ways to keep your inner child entranced with the all the glories celebrating the birth of the Christ child.

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