Words and stories that create magic

It is funny how words and stories come into our life. What is even more interesting to me is what makes them stick in our minds and become part of our memories.

I recently attended a Christmas concert at a nearby church and one of the readings included the following excerpt from Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

“I do know what I want someone to give me for Christmas. I’ve known since I was forty years old. Wind-up mechanical toys that make noises and go round and round and do funny things. No batteries. Toys that need me to help them out from time to time. The old fashioned painted tin ones I had when I was a child. That’s what I want. Nobody believes me. It’s what I want I tell you.

Well, okay, that’s close, but not quite exactly it. Its delight and simplicity that I want. Foolishness and fantasy and noise. Angels and miracles and wonder and innocence and magic. That’s closer to what I really want.

Its harder talk about, but what I really, really, really want for Christmas is just this:

I want to be 5 years old again for an hour. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I want to be picked or rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and carried up to bed just one more time. I know what I really want for Christmas: I want my childhood back.

Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but when is Christmas about sense, anyway? Its about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded, and terribly vulnerable to joy. A child who does not need or want or understand the gifts of socks or pot holders.”

― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

magical-1090663__340The passage was shared by the mayor of the town in which the church was situated. He was a youngish looking man in his early 60’s. Mid-reading, his voice cracked. He tried to continue, but as he stumbled verbally toward the sentence “I want to be picked up or rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and be carried up to bed just one more time,” tears formed and rolled down his cheeks. He paused, looked out at the crowd of hundreds, and in this ultra-vulnerable moment, realized the crowd was with him. He smiled slightly, shrugged his shoulders and continued. I think he realized this was a safe environment for flowing tears, memories and moments of tenderness.  

I’m sure many in the audience teared-up, as well. I did – for him, for myself, for all of us, and for dreams unrealized and yet to come. In that moment, I believe that most of us became children again, and yearned, or at least understood the yearning for the magic of Christmas.

Fulghum’s words, the mayor’s tears and vulnerability and the feelings they elicited, have stuck with me and are now part of my stories and memories. I share them with you now, as a reminder that Christmas is a time of magic. Magic we can create for the children inside ourselves and for the children around us – young and old.

Reach inside and outside of yourself this holiday season to touch the hearts of those around you. You will fill yourself with joy and you may create lifelong memories for others. And, after all, isn’t that the true magic of Christmas?



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Christmas memories

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to warm-up your heart and enrich your holiday spirit is to relive your favorite Christmas memories?

snowflake-1823942_960_720Let a quick trip down memory lane relax and revive you.

If your holiday memories are not happy ones, do not despair. Use your personal memory lane to inspire you to find ways to light-up other folks’ lives, which can make you feel better, as well.  You have more power and so many more opportunities than you may realize to brighten someone’s day.

  • A smile, a compliment, a card or a call are easy to do and are for the most part are cost free.
  • Giving-up a prime parking space to the car behind you,
  • paying for the order of the next person in line or their toll,
  • passing out extra big hugs to your spouse, significant other or kids are all ways to make someone’s holiday brighter.

There are thousands of other ways to celebrate the season, and each one can help you focus on what is most important to you this Christmas, and for all your Christmases to come.

Here are my top ten holiday memories. Reliving them made me feel warm and cozy, and I realized how many more I have to enjoy.

  1. Getting an Easy Bake oven one Christmas and going into Mom and Dad’s bedroom first thing the next morning with the teeny tiny muffins I baked and them “oohing and ahhing” over them.  Easy Bake
  2. Squinting at the Christmas tree in the living room so the lights would blur, which I truly thought was magical.
  3. Finding a way to buy Christmas gifts for my eight siblings, my Mom and Dad and the growing number of brother-in-laws and nieces and nephews. There was so much joy in those decisions and in the giving.
  4. Finding a sky-blue crocheted, short sleeved dress in my Mom’s bottom dresser drawer on our annual pre-Christmas present hunt, and hoping it was for me. My just older sister and I ended-up sharing that dress for years. I think I wore it to a 7th grade dance and loved it!
  5. My Mom and Dad always made Christmas morning seem gift-filled even though they were buying for nine kids on a very tight budget.santa-claus-1149928__340
  6. One year we arranged for my same older sister’s boyfriend to play Santa for our two youngest siblings. A few hours after they were tucked into their beds, we woke them up to see “Santa” opening his pack in the sparkling light of the Christmas tree, which was reflected in our living room picture window. I recall this scene clearly, and can still feel their sense of excitement of seeing “Santa”.
  7. I bought my Mom a burnt-orange polyester pantsuit with a jaunty striped, short scarf that tied off to the side like those fancy French ladies!  I purchased this fashion forward outfit – pantsuits and polyester were all the range that year – with my 30% discount from my job at Petries, a retail shop for teens and women.  Having enough money to do something special for my Mom felt so good.
  8. As our family grew with many of us starting families of our own, my Mom decided to change the date we gathered at my parents’ home for the holidays. We descended en masse on my Mom’s  birthday, December 26. I always thought it was amazingly kind of her to cook and clean for everyone on her birthday. Mom said it was worth it to have us all together. Turns out, she knew best. She kept us in touch with one another as we shared her wonderful food and the sides and cookies we brought. Forty years later, we are still finding ways to share our homes, our lives and delicious foods.christmas-655681__340
  9. The joy of seeing everyone’s gifts and what seemed like tons of wrapping paper strewn across our living room floor. It made the gifts seem more plentiful and so festive.
  10. Baking and eating so many sweet treats. My Mom’s cookies were the best, especially the Butter Balls!

Now, compile your list. Then enjoy reliving the moments. And, remember, if sad memories top your list, spend time this holiday season creating better ones for you and others.

Please share some of your favorite memories in the comments section below. Reading them will make us all happy!

Happy holidays to you!

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