Monday, December 24, 2018

The Magic’s in the Memories

I’m constantly dismayed by the lack of magic in my recent Christmas holidays...more and more with each passing yuletide.

But, no big deal.

I’m constantly dismayed by a lot of things...especially the inconsistency of the haphazard size variation found in the O’s in my box of Cheeri-Os.

I mean, shouldn’t they all be the same?

You might think that’s an odd thing to be constantly dismayed about, and you’d be right, which is my point...but chances are, more than a few of you will be checking out you own nilly willy O’s in about 5 minutes.

Anyway, despite my constant dismayity over this issue—the missing holiday magic...not the cereal—I take comfort in that I don’t appear to be alone. 

I hear it all the time, especially while eavesdropping.

“I don’t know...Christmas isn’t what it used to be...especially since I have to buy my own presents.”

“I swear, I used to hear tiny reindeer bells, up on the roof...but not anymore. Now it’s just the neighbor’s kid crashing his drone into my chimney. ”

“I can still recall when sugar plums danced in my head? Nowadays, there’s not a sugar plum to be found; not since the E-coli scare of ought 12.”

“My family’s lost all our old holiday hiding Grandpa’s teeth in the mashed potato bowl! Man, that brings me back...and to this day, I still can’t eat anything mashed!”

Okay, sure. Some of those reminisces might sound a bit peculiar to you, as they do me. But who are we to judge another’s Christmas reveries.

While we didn’t hide Grandpa’s teeth, we did rifle through Grandma’s wallet looking for 20’s.

Nah, I’m kidding. We wouldn’t do that. What kind of kids do you think we were?

We never took anything larger than a 10.


My cousin Butch said, it was Christmas...the season of giving. We were doing Grandma a favor; saving her the trouble of passing them out herself.  

Ahhhh, I miss ol Butch. He always saw the up side of things like petty theft.  Probably why, to this day, he doesn’t seem to mind the 10-15 he’s doing up state.

But I’m getting waaaaay off track here, which, I guess isn’t all that surprising.

My mind has a mind of its own...and sometimes I think that mind has a mind of its own, as well.

The point I was trying to make—sometime last week, it seems—is that for years, I’ve sabotaged the holiday at hand,  wishing for some kind of holiday magic to swoop in and save the day, just like those wooden soldiers that suddenly come to life in “Babes in Toyland”.

Where has it gone, the magic of all those Christmases from so long ago?

The butterflies fluttering in my stomach all of Christmas Eve and the absolute awe sweeping through the house on Christmas morning when an endless array of presents mysteriously arrived under the tree, during the night.

Those noisy, chaotic, extended family dinners, the food, the music; all the laughs and even the fights.

Christmas magic seemed to be in such plentiful supply, waaaay back then.

Sure, for most of those holidays we were kids, and kid memories burrow indelibly into our brains.

But not just waaaay back then...even not so waaaay back then.

Even just a few years ago, back thens.

Christmas seemed so much fuller; it superseded the day, the week and even the month....unlike now, when Christmas seems to be pretty much just a Tuesday...with family obligations.

Until, maybe, in a few years, we’ll look back and some of the mundane events of today will suddenly become tinged with a bit more sentimentality than we remember feeling at the time.

And so it hit me...much like cousin Butch after I’d raise the ethical issues of rifling through Grandma’s wallet, year after year.

Waiting on that old Christmas magic to reappear from so long ago, is really kind of a fool's errand, especially at the expense of the holiday in the moment.

You can’t wait for something that really doesn’t exist.

There is no Christmas magic; not really. You can’t capture it; wrap it in a bow and save it for another dreary year, down the road.

Didn’t the pet gerbil incident of 78 teach us that, if nothing else.

Sure, you might find a bit of fun in the holiday hub bub buildup; even discover a passing thrill throughout the day, especially after Aunt Mille pops open the Cold Duck and knocks Uncle Arite's glasses off...again..

But the reality’s still just another Tuesday, decked out in a lot of tinsel, sparkling lights and more than a few red sweaters.

But don’t get me wrong. There is definitely magic in them there Christmases.

We add it ourselves...later, in our memories.

We look at the past and magically it all seems so much warmer than the “now” staring back at us, though the eggnog. 
Even Uncle Artie and his holiday black eye.

But maybe that’s just me and something I needed to discover for myself.

If you’re lucky enough to be exactly where you’re meant to be, with whom you’re meant to be—even if it’s cousin Butch—that’s a special magic all its’ own.

The Memories are the magic...and the magic’s in the memories.

So let’s make them Merry and Bright....

And stay out of grandma’s wallet...and the mashed potatoes, unless, well, you’s a tradition....


Thanks to everyone who's already picked up a copy of "The Little Red Christmas Ball"! 

I'm happy to say, a lot of folks have taken to it's fun Christmassy message and shared it with family and friends.

Join the adventure and “The Little Red Christmas Ball” will shine bright and hold tight as your family’s new holiday tradition, this year...and every year to come...

Thanks, again....

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  1. My sentiments exactly - it is all about buying the presents ... it seems like I've heard about the malls, the Amazon specials for a solid month. The radio station is counting down the minutes you can still get your shopping down without resorting to CVS or Walgreen. Wednesday the news will be about the crowds taking stuff back - I have no words sometimes. Merry Christmas Brian! - Linda

  2. The real magic is in surviving yet another ending of a year that we need no reminding about. The magic is in our reinventing the hope that this new year will be a game changer. Have a great holiday to you and yours.

    1. Hope you and yours are having a Merry old Christmas, Cliff!

  3. I love the phrase "unlike now, when Christmas seems to be pretty much just a Tuesday...with family obligations." Only for me I'd have to add ten back-breaking hours on my feet doing the food

  4. Don't I know it! Oh,wait...I don't know it at all....
    Hope y'all had a very Merry...and next year is better than the last...

  5. Hey wait a minute...are you saying those wonderful childhood memories from so very long ago on Hobart Ave. weren't magical and real? Didn't we have fun pushing you down in the snow as we awaited the arrival of Santa? Don't you remember Mr. Fang looking out the window and Crazy Mary yelling at us?? And how about that man with the tattoos? Now they were good times for sure and not embellished by any means! Sure there were some wild stories about Rex and Lions Park, but by todays standards they were all quite mild! Memories are the stories of our lives and whether factual or imaginary, they make us feel just a little better. I'll always remember the little boy who lived across the street as the fun loving person he is that's a good memory!!

    1. Ahhhh, thanks, Pami. I think I'm blushing. Oh, that's just the residual rash left behind from the constant frost bite I suffered from you and your sis. I still think of you fondly, as well, whenever I take a header into a snow bank. Actually, that was more on me. My philosophy at the time was if you're going to play in the snow...become one with the snow. Mr. Fang says hello!

    2. Hope you had a Merry Merry and enjoy the New Year!

    3. You must have had the same philosophy about poison ivy...but that's a story for another day! ;) Happy New Year ole pal!!

  6. i hope your christmas was indeed magical, brian! we are still recovering from the holidays here, all in a good way consisting of fun and frolic. i love welcoming january with mostly an empty calendar and a purged house. happy new year! nicole

  7. Yes, very magical! So much so I've now made it all disappear. I did see quite a few of your holiday exploits on line. No wonder you're still recovering. As I've said in the past I'm still availble for adoption. We had given some thought to going down to Cape May, ourselves, this season, but things got a little bit hectic. Looked into all the Victorian tours etc. Maybe next year....

  8. cape may is worth the trip! you can walk mostly everywhere. and there are plenty of worthwhile places to go to in your car. if you ever bite the bullet ring me up. i will guide you in the best directions!
    and boy, could i use a vacation (on my couch).


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