I wish I could bottle up this feeling and make it last all year long.
Magic, that’s what it is. Absolute, utter magic. There’s just something to be said about the tree, the lights, the hazy feel of a Christmas morning, that gives me feels all the way from my head down to my toes.
The kids were up relatively late. 7:30 and later. Which was odd, but I guess makes a kind of sense. Because things are shifting here. Doubts are creeping in, doubts about the magic that threads it all together. I guess that’s just how it is when both kids are into double digits. It guess it was bound to happen.
But the magic endures. As I looked under the tree and saw all the gifts from Santa, I was reminded of it. I was reminded of snuggling up, cozy like, by a different tree, putting on the Santa hats, and tearing into our presents. I was reminded of the warm egg nog in my mug, of the photographs everyone had to take to memorialize each Christmas.
And for a moment, this morning, it was there again, the magic that I know still sits just below the surface, the magic of Christmas morning. With wrapping paper all around the floor, the smell of coffee brewing, in our pajamas, each in our own way bright-eyed and eager to see what came for us.
Of course, though, on this side of things, it’s not waiting to see what came for us, not really. On this side of things it’s waiting to see the expressions on faces when they see what we got for them. On this side of things it’s waiting for those smiles to spread when they’re surprised, when we shock them with things they never realized they wanted, with things that are at once sentimental and treasured.
This feeling — there’s just nothing quite like it in the whole wide world. At times like these I don’t even care that Santa’s not real. I embrace him with arms open wide, because there’s not much time left for this kind of magic, not in this house anyway. With doubts abounding, with traps to catch the jolly man in action, it’s only a matter of time.
It’s funny too, because at first I was against having our kids believe. We had an exchange, a compromise, before they ever came along, and I said I would pretend so they could believe. It’s funny because that little concession has given me 12 Christmases and counting of the magic I didn’t realize existed, and I couldn’t imagine this time any differently, or any better.
So I’ll wrap it up like a present and keep it under the tree where no one else can get to it, where it can’t be opened and ruined. I’ll wrap up this magic where only I can get to it, when I want to remember how these times were, how deeply special it all is, especially in a world where reality increasingly curtails spectacular beliefs.
Because we all need a little magic in our lives.