The Re-Claiming of my Christmas Miracle

Christmas is very different than what it used to be. As a young child, the nearing of Christmas was marked by the most certain arrival of the Sear’s Christmas Wish Book. A tremendous amount of thought and scrutiny was given to this magical catalogue that brimmed with wondrous anticipation and delight. I remember reading it cover to cover, placing tiny left-handed check marks on photos of insatiable promises of an otherwise out of reach reward. After a month of narrowing down, changing my choice, and changing again, the one item I envisioned that would answer all of my dreams was written on a small piece of paper and delivered to my Mother, who would relay it to the North Pole, and into the hands of Santa Claus. I dared not choose frivolously, as this significant and solitary gift, apart from some stocking stuffers, would be my Christmas miracle delivered, until Christmas came again. Oh how I treasured those gifts, the Tippy Toes doll, Thumbelina, the tiny tea set, the bomber jacket, skis and boots, boots with long white hair. I remember them all as if I had received them only yesterday.

I also remember the golden brown turkey and its trimmings, carols at my Uncle’s, bowls of candies and fake snow sprayed on the windows at my Nana’s house. Through the years it lost its magic, like the Christmas tangerine in the toe of my stocking discovered long after New Year’s Day. Limp and without meaning, just an ordinary orange, void of moisture and colour. Gift giving had become obligatory and the VISA bills dampened my spirit. Lengthy and relentless, like early November Christmas music, pushing my financial burdens to the limit, I felt bitter and obligated to express the depths of my love and commitment, wrapped in fancy paper and bows. Years later, I received the greatest Christmas gift ….an epiphany.

Christmas didn’t have to be about gifts…it could be about family and friends. It could about gratitude for our blessed lives, the food on our table, the drink in our cups and a whole lot of laughter. This year I will arrive at my Mom’s with a single gift and a heart full of love. Each person will have chosen a gift for no one in particular. They will be wrapped and under the tree as numbers are passed out to each person. When your number is called, you will unwrap a gift. If you like it, you can keep it, or take someone else’s. The air is filled with laughter and shouting as gifts are opened and stolen until one remains in your lap. That is my present but not my gift. The gift is my family together, eating, drinking, laughing, and hugging and the remembrance of the miracle as we watch the little ones savour the magic.

The children draw names now, shopping with their Moms for the perfect gift. The frenzied ripping of paper stops while they watch the receiver of their gift unveil their surprise. They gauge the reaction with large doe eyes as they experience, themselves, the gift of giving. Paper and packages are collected as dinner arrives on the table, the air permeated by the aromas of each Christmas past. Boisterous conversations become a moment of shared gratitude for all that lies before us, and all that has been. With bellies full, and a kitchen akin to a war zone, once again, the Christmas miracle is complete.

May you and your family enjoy the magic of the holiday season, and the blessings of the new years that follow~