Spirit, Magic, Tradition and Ritual By Missy Whaley

“Spirit, Magic, Tradition and Ritual”  bring harmony to our family at Christmas. Thankfully, my husband and I share our desire in this area.  We both share stories from our Christmases, along with the classics, and the stories bring life to the season in our house. At the beginning of November we notice unexpected sparks throughout our house—St. Nicholas’s elves checking up on us. Christmas Carols begin at Thanksgiving and are still often lingering days after Christmas.  Shortly after Thanksgiving we go to “Ruth’s Christmas Tree Farm” to pick out our tree. Each year we try to remember whose turn it is to pick the tree. This year the owner said, “That was the quickest pick yet.”  Ravenjane, who’s nine, picked this year. Her big brothers, Emerson (29) and Seeder (21), took delight in assisting her and sharing their memories over the years of when it had been their turn. Next we place the tree in the pick-up and head down the winding country road home to unload and  decorate accompanied by Christmas music, hot chocolate  and cookies.  Unpacking the decorations leads to more stories and memories, as well as negotiation: should an angel or a star be on the top of the tree?  On St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6), we all find surprises in our shoes. This year Emerson called Ravenjane to tell her what was in his shoe. Through December we are making presents for people and reaching into our community at large to spread our giving, along with our immediate friends and family.
For 29 years we have slipped into our Christmas Eve pajamas and opened a special book which we sit together by the fire and take turns reading out loud. Sometimes it is still a picture book, and sometimes it is poetry or other meaningful passages. Next  cookies,carrots and milk are set out for Santa and his reindeer. Lastly, everyone goes off to bed, but not without popping a sugar plum in his or her mouth for sweet dreams.
This year Ravenjane was at our bedside at 4 a.m.: “Mommy…Daddy…Santa came! Come look! And I have your coffee ready.” We managed to convince her that we had to wait until 6 a.m.  So every twenty minutes, she announced the time. At 6 a.m. we said, “Okay we will get up when you get your brothers up.” She left only, to pop back in and say that they were up. Their enthusiasm was almost equal to hers. There is the magic of waking up to eaten cookies and carrots. This year Santa left a note saying thank you for the pizza that he found in the refrigerator, as he had just had too many cookies on his other stops.
The intention to  savor “Spirit, Magic, Tradition and Ritual”  during the holidays hold the peace in our family during the holidays. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.