I love the magic of the Holiday season.
I gave this deep thought recently as my children and I returned from a trip to San Francisco. We’re no strangers to the City by the Bay. I (we) love everything about it, as well as our town’s proximity to it. Day trips are not unusual and weekend sleepovers with friends and family just as plentiful.
As the two of them checked out with a Christmas movie for the ride home, I reflected on the true Magic we are blessed by. As I drove I recognized how our lives just sort of ‘pop’ with a new energy come that day after Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday. The kids and I spend much of the time between Halloween (my 9-year-old’s favorite) and ‘turkey’ day discussing all we are grateful for. Even in the simplest of lives, there is just so much to give thanks for. Food, shelter, friends, family, good health … the list goes on and we make it a practice to speak of it all openly and out loud.
That Friday, however, the one which follows the ‘feast’ … that seems to have become the launch day for the true magic. Christmas bins are unearthed from the garage. Stories are told as ornaments are unwrapped and then there are the sounds.
The sounds of Christmas music being heard through our home. The sounds of my children singing as they place ornaments on their trees. The sounds of jingle bells which adorn our doors. Oh and my most favorite, the sounds of giggles as containing excitement now becomes both impossible and not at all necessary.
It is not uncommon to hear families speak of the ‘crazy’ which, seems to increase in their already overloaded lives. Yet somehow during this four to five week period (depending on the calendar), not a complaint is made. It’s a good crazy. An amazing crazy in all honesty. As we each juggle the varying parties, events and obligations. This is what makes the ‘magic’ so meaningful.
As travel continued, I thought to our calendar and our coming weekend. It was empty. The thought of it caught me a bit off guard. It’s the Holidays after all and this never happens. Thinking a bit harder, double checking my mental calendar I was sure I must have forgotten something.
Once confirmed, the thought of it thrilled me. Time to sit and just be still. Time to lay on the couch with Christmas movies and kitchen time for baking. As I shared the discovery with my duo, they each quickly replied “Pajama day!!”
Yes, ‘pajama day’ is a luxury for my children. A complete day spent in pajamas and just relaxing. Pajama days are void of homework, chores and errands. When I was a kid, I think we just called it the weekend. We didn’t rush around nearly as much then as we do now (yet I digress).
So what does this all mean for me really? This word used so much and so emphatically. What is this ‘magic?’
The ‘magic’ for me is found in the eyes of my 6-year-old as she stares at the Christmas tree. Then again when my son pulls out his wallet to pay for a gift on his own. The ‘magic’ is found at a coffee shop watching someone pay for another’s purchase. The ‘magic’ comes in an e-mail when a reader takes the three minutes to let us know we’re ‘getting it right.’
In short, the ‘magic’ comes in the way of selflessness and wonderment. This stretch of time seems to take it to a level of steroid proportion. The smiles of strangers amidst the hustle and bustle seem a bit more abundant.
For the cynic, no ... I am not delusional. I realize this does not represent everyone or the mood and feeling everywhere. I do however believe ‘you get what you give.’ So, to that I will offer quite simply I choose to give smiles over scowls, patience over impatience and tantrum-like behavior and love over hate.
I promise you, once you spend a moment in your pajamas and give that all a little thought and acceptance, you too will be a part of the magic.
Teresa Hammond is a former reporter and current circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.