By Ashley K. McCardia
This time of year has always been my favorite. I look so forward to all of the cooking, decorating, and family traditions. I can remember being 7 years old, just at the brink of being a big kid, and it was the last year I believed in the “magic” of the holidays (you parents know what I’m talking about). My mom made that year so special for me! We made reindeer food baskets filled with carrots, granola, and peppermints. She let me sleep on the couch that night to see if I could catch a glimpse of the big guy.
It was the best Christmas of my childhood! I can still remember it so vividly. After that year, as the oldest, I got to start helping my mom make the “magic” for my younger siblings.
Now, I am a mom of two little girls. Last year was my oldest daughter’s final year believing. At first I was pretty sad because it was the end of an era in a way. So many of our holiday traditions started with her. Our elf, Frank, started visiting when she was only three years old. She and her dad started their own tradition of giving me grief when I didn’t use multicolored lights in our decor. We made cookies to share with our family, and did hundreds of crafts over the years.
She is 8 now, though, and last year when the last gift was opened and she was tucked into her bed, we sat together just us two and I gave her a letter I’d written just for her. That night, I inducted her into our “Magic Makers” club… the one for big kids and grown ups who love to help the holidays be more magical for others. She learned the secrets and was giddy with excitement for next year, as she looked forward to creating joy for her little sister. She learned that this season is for giving, spreading joy, and it is a time to share what she has with others.
Time went so fast and here we are! My first baby shares in the privilege of creating a world where all you need is a few twinkle lights and an imagination. This is a gift my mother gave me all those years ago, and I am so thrilled to share the tradition with my own first born.
Tradition can be anything we want it to be. Whether it’s an elf on your mantle or reading the same story each season. The beauty of them is that they can be passed down for ages or they can be brand new! The important thing is finding little (or big!) ways to show our family and friends we are blessed to have them in our corner. Whatever the holidays mean to you or me, I think we can all agree that the spreading of a little extra magic and joy is the best part of the holiday season.