Christmas, for me, doesn’t feel as magical as it used to when my parents were still alive. My dad was the biggest kid of all and he would happily stroll through malls that were bulging at the seams with shoppers trying to find that perfect gift. He would also be on the phone at 6:00 am on Christmas morning, pulling us from our slumber to make sure we were up and ready to come over to open presents. The Beach Boys Christmas album would be blaring in the background, as it was each Christmas morning, and he would impatiently pace around the overflowing tree until we arrived.
My mother would embrace her inner elf and make their house look like Santa’s workshop had overflowed into every room and the smell of fresh-baked cookies and other goodies always filled the air. The dining room table, that was once filled with tins of cookies she had made for many of the local businesses, would be set to perfection with all of the festive tablecloths, napkins and candles.
Perhaps some of my Christmas spirit was taken when they left. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I don’t have kids of my own and my nephews are now teenagers, so the urge to feel elvish is lower on the register. But over the last couple of years, I have been finding much more of my Christmas spirit through the annual toy drive I have run every year for the last five years.
With a stuffed Rudolph safely tucked onto my dashboard so his red nose could lead the way, we drove two cars full of toys to the Food Bank today and were able to be there to help some of the families find the perfect gifts to give to their kids on Christmas morning. To say I am now bursting with Christmas spirit is a gross understatement. It was so heart-warming being able to stay and see the smiles as parents got to pick out the toys they knew their kids would love.
The spirit of giving is truly what the holiday is about. And since I have just been injected with an overdose of that spirit, I think it’s time to go home, turn the tree lights on and crank some carols by the Beach Boys. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!