Friday, December 16, 2011

The Magic of Christmas

 A storefront on Grand Cayman Island.
Yesterday I bid a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the last of my weekly piano students and kicked my holiday preparations into high gear. I ran out and picked up a few supplies, then stayed up into the wee hours baking cookies and making a couple of gifts. Today I baked more snickerdoodles, put together a batch of peanut butter cookie dough, and wrapped and boxed presents for out of town friends and family. Then I hauled everything to the post office and waited patiently in line until it was my turn. Next time, I'm going to wear a sign saying, "There is nothing liquid, fragile, perishable or hazardous in any of these packages." I bet that poor postal service employee wishes he had a nickel for every time he has asked that question.

I also mailed an envelope filled with checks to Beading To Beat Autism - $919 worth, in fact. Thanks to everyone who participated in this project - to my team who helped me create and sell 300 bracelets, and to everyone who supported us by purchasing our finished products. We believed we could, and we did!

I was hoping I would have the energy to write cards tonight - I actually remembered to buy holiday stamps while I was at the post office - but I don't. I made a pot of chili for dinner and wrote a book review that I was supposed to turn in two weeks ago and I am about used up at this point. I haven't slept much the past two nights and I have been fighting a headache all day. So I probably ought to pay attention to the gentle whisperings of my body, pleading with me go to to bed early for a change.

Because once those cards are in the mail and the house is back in some semblance of order - I'm sure it's been this messy before, but I can't remember when - I am looking forward to being visited by that "Christmas feeling." It's hard to describe it with words, but it's a quiet joy that settles over me for a few fleeting moments every December. I never know when it's going to hit; I might be curled up on the living room sofa reading a holiday book, playing Christmas music on the piano, taking a pan of ginger snaps out of the oven, or stirring grated nutmeg into a glass of eggnog with a peppermint stick. It's one of the best feelings there is, but as soon as I try to hold onto it, it vanishes. Maybe that's part of the magic.

Santa Claus, flying reindeer, snowmen that come to life, snow on December 24th. It just wouldn't be Christmas without the magic. What makes it magical for you?


Michele Stefanides said...

I know that feeling! I got mine a few days ago, when I got out my village of mini gingerbread houses and put out all my favorite little candies I remember from Christmases when I was a little girl. And so I put on the tree lights, and the lighted garlands on the mantle and bannister, made a cup of peppermint mocha, and sat in the living room taking it all in! Hope you find yours soon!

Pam Asberry said...

Obviously, Michele, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about. Your Christmas tree village, special candies and lighted garlands sound wonderful. But the secret is finding a few moments to sit down with a cup of something warm and take it all in. That's what I haven't been able to manage yet. But soon, very soon!

Julee J. Adams said...

I have holiday cards ready to be addressed too and just got some gifts last night for local friends.
Good news: I'm off on the 26th, so will definitely be over to see you that evening! Travel safe and let me know for sure final plans. We'll try to get Miss Debbie back over. Bad news: FIL is having major surgery on the 23rd, so we're having the family dinner today.

Probably won't put up a tree this year. I might get downstairs to get a string of lights for the window, but might not. I have some more Christmas ornament earrings to make for people at work and some more bracelets for gifts, but it's going to be a quiet year here. The magic will come when I find out what laptop I'm getting! LOL

Seriously, most of the holiday magic got beaten out of me after a decade in retail, but my goal is to make sure others feel it with my gifts and cards. Wishing you the absolute best season and see you soon!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Love and laughter in the house. The smells of Christmas dinner in the oven. Carols on the stereo and sappy movies about the Christmas spirit. All these things help get me there, but for me there's something about the first time I plug in a set of lights. This year it was a new lighted garland strung across my mantle, winding its way around candle holders, a reindeer, a mini-tree and two Christmas dolls. It's a little bit of festivity and it's magical.

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Forgot to say, I'm hoping to get my cards sent out tomorrow, but I'm cutting way back on the list. Last year I think I sent out about 60. Ridiculous waste.

Pam Asberry said...

That sounds beautiful, Carol. It's the little things that make all the difference. I just put my cards in the mail, too - 33 this year. Back when I was married we used to send out close to 100. Simplify, simplify.

Dean from Australia said...

There is a little tradition I have observed on Christmas eve since I was a child and I still don't recall how it came about.

On Christmas eve, I like to put on the LP version I own of The Beatles "Let It Be" album, sit back with a glass of single malt and just relax.

Obviously, it was a little different when I was a kid but the LP was always the same.

Pam Asberry said...

I just might try that, Dean - but substitute the CD version for the LP version and a glass of pinot noir for the single malt. Merry Christmas!