How to Keep the Childlike Magic of Christmas Alive as an Adult

Christmas has always been a magical time of year for me. As a child, it had such a unique magic to it that came automatically. That magic isn’t as automatic for me as an adult. Sometimes the stresses of life can get in the way, and make it hard for me to feel the magic. As a child, there was so much that was new with Christmas, so much warm and fuzzy mystery in the beautiful Christmas stories that inspire being one's best self, and seeing the best in others. And it was in those moments that we feel our best, that we are our best. We bring out our best for Christmas. We decorate like we never do for any other holiday. There’s the beautiful Christmas tree with ornaments that have been collected over the years. Stockings with the kids and parents names hanging on the mantel. Christmas lights that flicker a rainbow of color, Christmas wreaths, mistletoe, and beautiful candles on fancy candlesticks. And of course, a complete nativity scene that had been in the family for years. And then there’s the smells of Christmas. Oh, how I love the smells of Christmas! Pinetree, cinnamon and cloves, hot apple cider, hot chocolate and smores, gingerbread cookies, mint candy canes, orange chocolate, pumpkin or apple pie, a crackling fire in the fireplace, the list goes on! With sweet smells come such sweet memories. And then, of course, there was Santa Claus and the stories around old Saint Nick. In our home, Santa was truly viewed as a Saint who became a magical because of how much he gave to others. Hearing stories about Santa at school, church, through Christmas songs, Christmas movies, family and friends, Chris Cringle was a mystical character that was transformed into Santa Claus. He seemed to be filled with love and giving. He lived in the North Pole with his elves making toys for boys and girls year round. He had magic flying reindeer and could grant your Christmas wishes if you were good enough. Santa was a special and magical character to me. I secretly always wanted to catch him putting Christmas presents under the tree, and meet the real Santa, if for but a moment. I remember putting out cookies and milk, hoping he would see them and eat them. And how does he get down the chimney, I wondered. Does he stretch long and skinny, or does the chimney grow big and wide? I remember going to bed, and listening intently as long as I could stay awake to see if I could hear Santa’s slay and reindeer landing on the rooftop. Every little creek and sound in the house suddenly became more apparent to me, as I wondered if that might be him. Of course, I always fell asleep before Santa came, never quite catching the jolly bearded man in red. The next morning, rushing down to the Christmas tree to see what Santa brought, it was always an exciting moment to see the gifts wrapped in beautiful colorful paper, with bows and ribbons, looking for the ones with my name on them…From: Santa. Did he bring me what I asked for? I wondered. Was I good enough this year? One at a time, we passed gifts around, making sure everyone had one in hand before we started unwrapping. Resisting opening my gifts over excitedly, once inside and seeing a gift that I had asked for filled me with happiness and excitement. Santa listened! I was good enough. I was special. I was thought of. I was remembered. I was loved. Of course, we also got gifts for and received from each family member. This added to the feelings of love and thoughtfulness. It was always fun seeing a family member get excited about something I got them. Something that made them feel thought of and loved by me. Something that made them feel special. As an adult, I no longer believe in Santa, but I do believe in the magic of Christmas. I still like the fun magical stories of Santa Claus. But I’ve learned that the magic and spirit of Christmas we felt as a child lives within us still today, as adults. And it is born from thoughtfulness, from giving and receiving love, from creating and sharing special moments together with family and loved ones. It comes from being grateful for what we have, from sharing and giving to others. The magic of Christmas comes from having an appreciation for magical moments with family, and from taking the time to create those moments. Realizing this, I try to recreate the Spirit of Christmas at other times throughout the year. It doesn’t require anything more than sharing our time and love with others, being thoughtful, and creating magic moments together with family and friends. Life is busy, but if we take the time to celebrate life, to enjoy time together, to laugh, to cry, to make each other feel special and loved, we won’t miss out on the most beautiful part of life…each other.