making magic

I was going to come on here a few weeks ago and give you guys a holiday gift guide. It’s the standard blogger thing to do in December and I was going to follow suit. I was scouring the internet for deals and coupons and was going to consolidate it all for you in an aesthetically pleasing blog post. The more I worked on it though, the less I wanted to do it. So instead of a holiday gift guide (because if you really need one you can google about 10398349 of them), I want to talk about Santa and Christmas, but most importantly I want to talk about magic.

When I was a little girl who believed in Santa Clause, I would go to bed on Christmas Eve before the sun had even said goodnight to the sky. Leave the cookies, milk, and reindeer snacks on a plate as early as I could and be in bed shortly after. Would lay in my bed, wide-eyed and tireless waiting for a sound or clatter of something downstairs filling stockings with care. Waiting for the sound of magic. I had his reindeers’ names memorized and his letter on my desk. Each year felt like I had been waiting my whole life for this. One year, I actually saw Rudolph’s nose pass by my window and my dad had to sit with me until I fell asleep so I wouldn’t run downstairs and bust Santa’s whole operation. I believed in Santa with every fiber of my being.

I was 8 years old when I found out my parents were Santa Clause. I don’t know if that’s early for kids nowadays, but for me, it was a hundred years too soon. A girl named Destiny in Ms. Lussier’s second-grade class told me that the magic wasn’t real after lunch one day and she broke my heart. I could have believed in him forever.

Each year since I’ve grown further and further from the little girl who believed in that warm jolly man. And every year since, Christmas has gradually lost its sparkle, as I think it does for many of us. We see it all the time in Christmas movies; magic is for children and growing up is just this sad, unavoidable end to the magic. Somewhere between losing the magic yourself and seeing it again in your children, Christmas becomes nothing more than a huge, flashing red item on our to-do lists.We start looking for the magic that Santa used to bring. We stop asking for presents and secretly start begging for the magic to find us again.

This year I found myself looking for something that makes this holiday mean more than expensive gifts, lavish decorations, and insidious traffic. In my stressing over getting all my shopping done and waiting for magic, my dad asked me to take a morning off from frantically running around the mall to spend the morning with him handing out presents to families in need. The experience was incredibly sobering and when we gave the last family their gifts I was left feeling a strange mix of joy and heartache.

I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the glitter, price tag, rush, sparkle of Christmas. I think its really easy to forget about the kids who don’t know a Santa. Or don’t have a tree for him to leave presents under. Or a fireplace for him to come down. We are taught as children that Santa will only come if you are good, but what does that say to good children whose parents can’t afford for Santa to come?

Even more sobering to me was the thought of what happens to these children the rest of the year when people aren’t in giving moods because of a holiday?

My dad made a point all of my life to remind us of those who had less than we did. When we were young, I remember him sponsoring families around the holidays and asking us to help pick out gifts to give to them. After years of watching my dad being generous and giving, I know that there’s a little glimmer of him in my every act of kindness. For as long as I can remember my dad has been waking up early on his days off and driving somewhere to volunteer. Sometimes at church, sometimes to coach his Special Olympics team, sometimes to build houses with Habitat For Humanity.  My dad has woven giving into his everyday life. He doesn’t do it because he has to or because someone is telling him he should. He doesn’t log his hours with his company or advertise it on social media. He gives in a quiet way that doesn’t demand recognition or draw attention. He gives because he can; because he wants to.

This year, my dad reminded me where the magic of this season really is. While I had been whining about how Christmas had changed and been begging for its lost magic to return, my dad was out there making magic. As an adult now, it’s no longer my job to wait for the magic to find me. It’s my job to try to make some magic for someone else. And isn’t it right that the man who crafted the magic of Christmas for me so artfully my entire childhood, should teach me what it is to craft that magic as an adult?

Adulthood is not the end of the magic. Its the end of waiting for magic and the beginning of making it.

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In lieu of a holiday gift guide, I have put together a quick holiday magic guide. I hope this list gets you thinking of creative ways you can help someone out this holiday.

Ways you can make magic this year:

  1. Help the homeless here

  2. Write a thank-you – thank-you card tips here

  3. Donate blood here

  4. Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru

  5. Help build houses here

  6. Work with children with special needs here 

  7. Deliver meals here

  8. Help shelter animals here 

  9. Give gifts to low-income children and families here or here

  10. For other ways to make magic after the holidays are over check out volunteermatch.org

 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday & sending lots of love always,

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