T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring … except overly sugared-up children too excited to sleep, parents cursing themselves for not realizing that “some assembly required” loosely translates to “MIT grad needed,” and the myriad of emergency, retail and other workers who work holidays (shout out to them).
Magic is missing
Now that my children are older, I am not going to lie, It feels sometimes as if some of the magic of Christmas is missing. Let’s be honest, a lot of the sparkle and wonder dims just a tad when they are aware that UPS delivers more presents per capita than Santa’s sleigh.
This does not, however, mean we don’t still embrace and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. We are enjoying this season when the children enjoy giving.
They have always been great givers. From an early age Girlwonder was more excited to watch us open our gifts — often carefully chosen from the Santa Shop at school — than she was to open her own. (I still treasure my collection of “World’s Greatest Mom” everything.)
In the spirit of giving, Boywonder has been dating the cutest girl in the world (seriously, she’s adorable) for over a year now. When asked what she wanted for Christmas she said what any bright-eyed, beautiful, jewelry-loving modern gal might say: A gecko. That’s right. A gecko. As in, a lizard. Kids these days.
So Boywonder did what any modern young man would do. He worked two jobs and amassed the funds to purchase a gecko. As it turns out, geckos are surprisingly affordable. Gecko houses and heaters and half logs and tiny rocks filled with moss, are not. I’m pretty sure this gecko could have moved into Barbie’s Dream House for less, but I do like his lizardy digs.
Rex the gecko
Cute Girlfriend has received her gecko. They exchanged gifts a little early. Mainly because our cat was eyeing the gecko and licking his lips. They sat on the floor for ages, oohing and aahing and playing with the gecko; handling him ever so carefully while exclaiming over how obviously superior he must be to all the other geckos in the world. New parents are like that — even with geckos.
It is clear almost a week later that Cute Girlfriend is smitten with Rex the gecko. It may seem an unusual gift to the rest of the world but for them, it works.
Doing for others
Now my children delight in doing for others. We adopt a child from the Angel Tree and they are excited about that. One of them sings in the school choir. This means lots of Christmas programs and caroling. We enjoy baking, laughing, and more singing.
We (I) still don’t enjoy wrapping. I don’t know why, I just don’t. Sure I wish that Amazon would just accept their role as honorary Santa, print their boxes in holiday prints and save us the trouble of wrapping.
We had a gingerbread house build-off among Boywonder and his girlfriend and Girlwonder and her cute blonde boyfriend. The Golden Duo lost. Badly.
It looked like there had been a candyland tornado that left one gingerbread house in shambles while leaving the one next door unscathed. I ate the leftover gumdrops. They blamed shoddy materials. Mr. Wonderful salvaged the project by carefully drawing a nativity in leftover frosting.
Magic is back
We watch bad Christmas movies and make fun of them (with love) together. Their friends came and went and their faces shone with joy in small gift exchanges, good-natured frosting fights, and impromptu caroling.
And there you have it. Magic.
It may not look the same as it did 15 years ago when a 3-year-old stood on tiptoe to peer over the banister at piles of presents, but it lives in all of us, of any age, still.
As we celebrate this season and move into the New Year we should all resolve to remember the good times of days past. We should also make it a point to find — and make — new magic every day.
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