The Christmas Enchantment

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It seems to me that young adulthood is the place where all the Christmas magic just plum up and left. Opened up a candled window, jumped right out, and is fleeing down the street to the home of people with elementary-school-aged children.

It perplexes me. The lack of decorations for the last two years certainly doesn’t help. Last year, we didn’t have room for a tree with the Pack-and-Play in the living room. This year, all of my decorations are in Chattanooga and I wasn’t sure about taking up half the living room with a tree, anyway, with the house still on the market.

Somewhere along this week it struck me that I think the reason many people my age feel this lapse of Christmas enchantment comes from a loss of traditions. My growing-up years were absolutely steeped in Christmas tradition. The one year we didn’t participate in those–we went to Disney World for Christmas–I felt a little lost. Much of the same way I do now.

Does it come back once you develop your own traditions with your children? I like to think it will. My parents always had the Christmas sparkle, the great belly joy as we decorated cookies, read the pop-up Night Before Christmas, and carried our gifts down the stairs on Christmas Eve.

But maybe my heart is too reliant on what Kelly called Santa Christmas? The decorations, the gifts, Santa Claus and Santa Clause, watching White Christmas while making cookies, and stirring a candy cane into hot chocolate? After all, we all know that the true Christmas lies in the nativity scene, with that tiny baby.


My favorite Christmas memories are, by far, Christmas Eve services at church, lighting the candle and singing “Silent Night,” and reading the story from the Bible before going to bed on Christmas Eve. As Linus would say, “That’s what Christmas is really about, Charlie Brown.” But for me, sitting in the colored lights of a well-decorated tree facilitates the sacred, in a way. Wrapping presents makes me feel thankful for my newborn King. Seeing people with lit-up faces scurrying around, thinking of those they love, fills my heart with joy.

So perhaps the two can meet. The Christmas magic turns my heart toward the true Christmas Joy. And perhaps that’s why I’ve felt at a loss for both for several years.

I hope as we build traditions for Libbie we’ll focus even more on that Joy. And maybe, in these five days before Christmas, I’ll have a little time to set my mind on capturing some this year.

8 thoughts on “The Christmas Enchantment

  1. Libbie looks like a doll!
    I think many Christians struggle with the whole commercial Christmas thing. We did one year without a tree, it felt all wrong. Part of what commercial Christmas is now is tradition. We have found as a family that we love the lights, tree, gifts. But we have also found ways to keep Christ in focus. We chose not to do the whole Santa thing. You won't find an Elf of the Shelf at our house. But you will find a nativity or two. You will find what works for your family, and don't feel bad about keeping some traditions that are a little more modern if you want!

  2. I would like to wrap Libbie up and bring her down here to snorkle. She is adorable.
    And I hear you on Christmas. We are working on bringing the magic and it does get easier as they get older. O-man is 4 and REALLY gets it. It is so much fun!

  3. I think the Christmas "magic" does come back when you develop your own traditions and especially when the kids begin to get excited about it. Now that my oldest is nearly 5 it is becoming very fun.

  4. Libbie's face just kills me! Soooo cute!!

    The year or two before we had Annalyn, Mark and I realized the same thing – those years between being a child and having a child are rough when it comes to the Christmas spirit.

  5. It definitely comes back when the kids get older. I promise! 🙂

    I think I experienced a little of what you are going through when we were younger without kids, but we often went to my mom's for a few days over Christmas, so that made it feel a little more like Christmas should. The years we stayed here at home and went to his mom's for dinner always felt a little off to me. But now with 3 kids – the Christmas magic is back in full swing! 🙂

  6. Beautiful post, Jessie! I love it. I agree that as I've gotten older and as a parent the traditions seem to change year to year. But I think I've enjoyed the joy found w/in the change, you know? I love seeing all the new and fun things we do even when it's not the same as last year.

    I dunno, I'm excited to discover new traditions w/Lyd & Asa.

    Libbie is DARLING.

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