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Christmas Magic as an Adult

December 6, 2017 - Stacey Sacco
I have magical memories of Christmas as a child. Christmas trees filled with brightly colored bulbs. Christmas music that started at Thanksgiving dinner. A full day dedicated to sugar cookie decorating. Hanging stockings on Christmas Eve and getting drowsy while my dad read The Night Before Christmas. Seas of wrapping paper Christmas morning. Hunting for the hidden elves at my grandparent’s house while Christmas dinner was prepared.

Somewhere along the years, Christmas lost much of its magic. It wasn’t when I learned that Santa is a fun myth rather than an actual person. It wasn’t when I started buy gifts with my own money. If I can trace it back, year by year, I think I find that Christmas magic lost its sparkle when I had to start creating it myself.

Note that I love the moment my kids see the sparkling Christmas tree or when they revel in giving gifts to each other. I like the chaos of Christmas morning and the contented lethargy of that afternoon. Instead of panicking about the flour on the floor, I completely enjoy making sugar cookies with so many sprinkles the design is a mystery.

At the same time, it’s hard to enjoy watching Rudolph while simultaneously calculating that each of the kids has the same number of gifts. Those moments of bliss are hard to hold on to in the midst of school plays, church activities, craft projects and gift wrapping. All of these things are good, maybe even noble, activities. But they lend themselves more to anxiety than joy when bundled together.

Yes, I realize that I only get a handful of years where my kids really believe in the magic of Christmas. Already, my boys are less than excited about Santa. And while we do focus on family and the religious aspects of the season, they always seem to take a backseat to the spending and making and perfecting. Christmas doesn’t feel sacred. It feels overwhelming. It feels like something I just need to get though.

In conclusion…. I wish there was a lovely bow to wrap this up with. Some secret solution that sets everything right. But each year, someone else is missing. Some disappointment overwhelms me. I feel like I’ve let down the people who are counting on me for the magic. And while I try to enjoy those small moments of joy, in the back of my mind, I still know how many Christmas cards need addressed. I don’t have the magic. It is not within me to make the season sparkle. And soon I will be packing up the Christmas decorations, wondering again what my kids will remember about the event.

I’m aware that letting myself off the hook for things that are out of my control is the “magic answer.” After all, Christmas is not about me. But if I don’t read the Christmas books or mix the cookie dough, who will? I know how I would like to feel at this time of the year. That goal seems so far away. All the brambles of business and chaos stand between here and there. Perhaps a little less laser focus and a lot more grace is what we need.


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