My mother liked to tell a story about Christmas from my childhood:
“Years ago, when Liz and Catherine were about 5 and 3 respectively, we drove around and looked at the Christmas lights in Boston.
We decided to park the car and walk around the cold to see what “special” decorations we could find.
We ended up at Boston Common and saw the lit trees. Not that special, but pretty enough.
Liz and Catherine could not get over the glorious sight of seeing each tree lit with hundreds of lights…that not being enough, they were ecstatic seeing that the trees were each lit in different colors.
I can still see them screaming in delight as they went from tree to tree.
“Look, a blue one!”
“Come quick, I found a red one!”
“Hurry, over here’s a green one!”
This went on endlessly, and if we had let them they would have stayed all night.
That night we couldn’t have given them a better gift, and they could not have given us a better one.
To this day, when I see trees on the Common I still see my girls laughing and running happily because Santa came and decorated the trees just for us.”
I love this story because it’s so simple. And it gets straight to the heart of what makes the season so special.
For a young child, imagine how it must look to see their every day world suddenly illuminated in multi-color. Try to remember the magic of that, to a small child.
I miss my mom terribly at Christmas. But I want to do what she did for me for my own young kids. She made Christmas so special for us, like I’m sure many of your parents did for you.
There’s a chance every year to make someone’s world light up. We all play a little part in creating magic for our kids, and by extension, for ourselves.
I know you’re working hard to create a special experience for your family. I am too. Sometimes it feels like as parents we can never, ever get it all done.
But we keep trying.
And it’s so, so worth it.
To the Magic-Makers this Holiday Season….
To the mom who’s taking extra shifts so she can buy her kids a few special gifts this year…
To the dad staying up late to build a train set so it’s ready on Christmas morning…
To the mailman working overtime in the cold to deliver package after package after package…
To the Santa at Children’s Hospital who makes sure to sit with each child, knowing full well that child might not be able to spend the holiday at home…
To the widower collecting for Toys for Tots who just wants to make sure that every kid’s eyes light up this year, at least for a day…
To the teacher who knows that not everyone celebrates Christmas, and that some families can’t afford a fancy Christmas, and who keeps an eye out for any child who might be feeling left out.
To the foster parent who gets an extra stocking for the little boy who’s spending Christmas away from his family for the first time…
To the old man who makes sure to get the lights up so he doesn’t disappoint the neighborhood kids, who run to see his display year after year….
To the couple going through a divorce who are doing their best to make the holidays joyful for their child, even though it’s hard, like, really hard, to get along right now…
To the mother facing her own health challenges who puts on a brave face so that her little ones don’t have to know, just yet, how tough the world can really be.
To the grandmother who’s knitting an extra blanket for the baby even though her hands ache….
For the aunties who always manage to find the best toys in town….
For the exhausted parents up past midnight wrapping presents from Santa…
Cheers to us all.
Someday our kids will realize how much effort it took.
But what a gift that all they see now is pure MAGIC.