The Mood of Magic
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
December 3, 2022
Are you in the mood for another festive holiday season? Trees and stars, candles lit, presents and tasty goodies? Some people easily embrace the holiday and all its trimmings. Others would rather retreat into a Scrooge stupor and plod along until well into the new year. Most of those people can be given a jump start by thoughts of Christmas Past (memories), Christmas Future (hopes) or Christmas Present (loved ones around them), and music, movies and books can add inspiration. Like charging dead batteries, they can infuse energy so the holidays can begin.
Personally, I like to start on Thanksgiving evening, after the leftovers are put away and not another morsel of pie can be eaten. I reach for "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg, or turn on the Tom Hanks adaptation on screen and I let myself be led like the young boy in the story. It is a circular adventure to the North Pole and back home. And once again, I believe.
As soon as belief and joy is running strong, I gather my holiday decorations and make my surroundings merry. I separate out all my holiday themed books from shelves and add with them old DVDs heralding Christmas faire, to be displayed like photos of old friends. Then I look for new inspiration.
This year I came across a gem of a book by Christopher Vinck. "Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale" was an easy first choice. Vinck was actually a close friend of Mr. Rogers. The forward in the book was written by Fred Rogers' wife Joanne. It is no wonder the story inside the book cover is full of heart and humanity while addressing the angst of Jim, one very needy father and husband. An ordinary yet magical elderly man and the wisdom of a child plays a big part in helping Jim find his way. The Christmas story of the nativity is about unconditional love and "Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Story" comes from the very same place. After 2,000 years, the gift of unconditional love still works its magic today.
Courtney Cole brings us "The Christmas Dress." The dress is enchanted, or some may think according to this story about Meg, an apartment building she suddenly must manage and a longtime elderly resident, Ellie Wade, who is not feeling at all jolly this season. She is facing the fate of many aging residents, the imminent move to a nursing home.
Meg's father had taken great care of the many longtime residents of his apartment building. But after his sudden death, Meg feels overwhelmed to keep Parkview West a safe haven for the residents as well as herself. And the dress? Ellie gifts the dress to Meg under the promise that she will wear it to the building's annual Christmas party. Is the dress really magical?
In the picture book "The Christmas Magic" by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jon J. Muth, the reader is eased into a gentle rendering of Santa and his seasonal preparations. It begins: "Far far north, when the nights are longest and the stars shine brightest, Santa begins to prepare for his big night of giving. He gathers his reindeer...polishes his bells and sled...lovingly chooses toys...then with the thrum of magic, the reindeer fly. Santa spreads warmth throughout the world."
What a wonderful example for the rest of us as we face the many weeks of this holiday season and begin to prepare for ourselves and those around us. It isn't worth a frenzy or stress. That steals the joy. Presents needn't be expensive, the best or excessive, merely chosen with love. We clean and shine and decorate, and the more conscious we are of making magic and spreading love, the better. Take moments to hold joy close. Be the ones who are calm and spread warmth to others. Help them slow down with you, and point out the magic if it seems hard for them to see.
In the book, Santa begins all this "when it feels right." Our mood is what puts magic into everything. It doesn't matter how much or how little we choose to do as long as we are present.
Allowing ourselves to not be perfect but engaged is the key. We may start out slow, which is fine. Some thrive at a steady pace. But work at leaving angst aside and put laughter into every box, a smile on each bow, love in each card, leaving a good piece of yourself in whatever you do for others. And don't forget to give yourselves a dose of unconditional love along the way, because that is the reason for the season.
*Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.