"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Longing for the magic

This week's writing prompt from MamaKat: I remember when...

P.S. I know I'm doing this really early this week (don't get used to it). But I've been designing Christmas luncheon invitations at work, and this topic has been on my mind.

I remember when I used to get so excited about Christmas.

I would start early, counting down the days until my birthday. I knew that once it was here, Christmas was less than a week away. I knew there would be family gatherings, lots of food, a few good laughs and always plenty of presents to go around.

On Christmas morning, it was like the ordinary rules of the universe didn’t apply. On any normal morning, I would have to be coaxed out of bed. (Maybe “coaxed” is too gentle a word. Let’s try “yelled at until I finally gave in and got up — very grumpily.” That’s much more accurate.) But on Christmas morning, I was up before dawn, shaking boxes and waiting impatiently for my parents to get out of bed so the fun could begin. I think it’s that way with most kids.

But I vividly remember when this Christmas cheer began to fade. I remember going home over the holidays my first year in college. I’d been living in the dorms, and my spirit was not overflowing with the normal joy of the season. I don’t know, maybe it was the stress of my first year of finals – but something felt different.

When my littler brother, Chase (then 5), came to wake me up to see “what Santa left,” I mumbled something along the lines of “It’ll still be there in a few hours. Go back to sleep.” That lasted about 15 minutes, and he was back, telling me to get up. It’s been that way every year since then.

Where is the magic I used to feel during the holidays? I still enjoy Christmas, but I miss the excitement that used to be there.

The last few years, the only thing that has lifted this holiday funk is the newly instated family tradition of Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts.

At first, I wasn’t sure it would be something I liked, but I have found that during the first few notes of their opening song, I catch a glimmer of the childhood excitement, fighting its way through all of the other things on my mind. By the end of the concert, my heart is completely filled with Christmas spirit.

If you’ve never heard of TSO, I suggest you check them out – especially if you need a little holiday boost to get you in the right frame of mind. Their CDs are good, but I will go ahead and warn you — it's not nearly the same as hearing them live. You don’t get to see the light show or watch all the stories unfold in front of you. You don’t get the experience of snow falling all around you, inside the auditorium. These guys go ALL OUT. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.

During these shows, I remember what it feels like to completely consumed with the magic of Christmas.

I could use that right about now.

"In the moments of our lives, both the joyous and the tragic,
if the truth is to be told, we are all pursuing magic."


Diane said...

First, I love your new background! I've been trying to find one I like (and then figure out how to download it)... no luck yet.

Second, I totally understand your lack of holiday cheer. I struggle with it every year, for lots of reasons. I'm trying to think of some new traditions I can start with Ryan to help lift the funk. Celebrating the Solstice is on my list... but not sure how...

Oh, and my friend Alan sees TSO every year and loves it. One day I'll go, too.

Jessica said...

LOVE YOUR BACKGROUND!! I think I need to spruce mine up a tad.

I kind of know what you mean about the Christmas spirit. It's not QUITE as magical as it used to be growing up, but I have way too much of that cheer left in me. I'm actually pretty annoying to outsiders around this time of year. I cannot wait to get my decorations out. I will listen to Christmas music almost all the time, will be watching all the Christmas specials that come on TV, and thoroughly enjoy addressing Christmas cards.
I'm really wishing for some snow this year though. I think that's what you need! Yes, snow will definately spread that cheer to you. And Elf. You should watch Elf!

I wanted to see TSO this year *I've never seen it* but it came at the beginning of this month. I wasn't ready for it yet. Maybe next year!!

Anonymous said...

I love that you look forward to the TSO concerts and that it's become a family tradition for us. The first time Dan and I saw them, we were blown away. I remember thinking how much you and Chase would have enjoyed it. That's how moms think. We tend to feel a little guilty if we are enjoying something without our kids. Anyway... I've had the TSO cds cranked up for several days now, even started putting up the tree today. Yeah, I know it's early yet, just needed a boost of Christmas cheer. Seems to be going around...


Jenners said...

What a lovely but kind of bittersweet post. It is sad when you lose some of the magic of the holidays. Perhaps it is a bit like the Wizard of Oz...when you see what goes on behind the curtain (the crowds at the mall, the pain of giftwrapping, etc), the illusion dies a little. I am already mourning the day when my son stops believing in Santa and the magic of Christmas.

Jen L. said...

TSO is awesome. I'm excited about experiencing holiday magic through Dean's eyes now!

Anonymous said...

The magic is still there. It's just a little different and you get older. "Believe.


Mama Kat said...

The magic comes back with your own kids. Watching their excitement makes me excited all over again. I re-live my childhood through them. :)

Sometimes Sophia said...

You're right about TSO... What a great show. The snow was magical and the pyrotechnics were terrific.

Mama Kat's right about watching kids enjoy Christmas. What fun. and it's wonderful to begin traditions of your own.

Mel said...

I started hearing the TSO song they always play on the radio in my head as soon as you mentioned it. It's my dad's favorite Christmas song.

That Christmas spirit is an elusive thing. Living alone, I struggle every year with whether I even want to bother putting up a tree. I love my ornaments, though, and I like to think about who gave me each one or why I bought the ones I did as I unwrap the tissue paper or open the boxes they're in. But, I gotta tell ya, it's my nieces that did it. Last year I watched from the road as my sister and brother-in-law took them outside in their pajamas and slippers and walked around with them while they decided where to sprinkle the "reindeer feed" and hang their Santa key (they don't have a chimney so Santa needs a special key to get in), and I thought it was magical. A young family and their holiday tradition.

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