“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

16 December 2011

the magic of Christmas


What does the magic of Christmas mean?  Where exactly does it come from and why does it seem harder and harder to feel year after year?  I know Christmas magic is supposed to come from giving to others, but I have been so overwhelmed the last few days by some amazing gifts and gift-givers.  Hey, if some of us arent willing receive, givers would be totally out of luck, right?  I have a point besides that of being utterly selfish.  (Ok, maybe I am just a little selfish.  I LOVE getting gifts... almost as much as I love giving gifts.)  Sometimes it can be a stretch to be generous, to put ourselves out, to give when it’s uncomfortable or just unwanted (either because we don’t want to do it or the person we’re giving to doesn’t seem to want what we’re offering).  But I think it’s often (if not always) harder for us to be on the receiving end of the giving process.  Maybe it challenges our pride, our need to be self sufficient, or our desire not to appear “needy”.  Whatever the reason, it seems embarrassing to accept something from another person without some kind of equal exchange.  It’s one of the hardest of life’s lessons ~ that as uncomfortable as receiving can be for us, to refuse the gifts of others denies them the joy and blessings that come from giving.  Someone has to be the receiver.

I worked once with a single mother who, as many single parents do, experienced some pretty severe financial difficulties in her attempts to raise two children alone.  One Christmas we were discussing how to tell kids about the “reality” of Santa Claus.  Personally, I’ve always been a believer.  Not only do I find it difficult to let go of that childish desire to believe in magic, I actively work on ways to “prove” why we should all continue to believe.  It made me sad to think that the time must come when reality replaces our belief.  Without discussing any of this with my coworker, this then 50-something woman said, “I totally believe in Santa Claus.”  A couple of attnedant skeptics eyed her at that point, but she went on to explain that on those Christmases when money was particularly tight and she wasn’t sure how she was going to feed her children Christmas dinner, let alone arrange a visit from Jolly Old St. Nick, somehow Christmas always came.  Somehow ~ whether through unexpected kindnesses of friends or strangers, an unforeseen bonus or an unlooked-for package in the mail or some other kind of windfall ~ she and her children always managed to have something magical for Christmas.  This was what she believed in.  That, to her and to her children, was Santa Claus, the magical bringer ~ not of material gratification, but of whatever it is that makes this time of year so magical.

That’s one of the reasons I love the movie the Santa Clause so much.  It’s all about believing.  Nothing very magical can happen in our lives unless or until we believe.  It’s the believing that unlocks the magic.  For reasons I’m not willing to get in to at the moment, I have recently found myself believing in the magic of life again after a rather murky period of distrust.  (I’m not sure I became an actual unbeliever, but I went through a moment or two of magic agnosticism.)  But almost as soon as I opened myself up to belief again, oh what amazing gifts began to arrive.  And so this Christmas season, I wish that all of you can experience the magic of believing. 

<3 xoxoxo <3


  1. Ahhhh! You got it early!! Well...Merry Christmas you Animal! Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  2. What a beautiful post, and you certainly deserve the magic! Love you my dear friend!! <3