68: A Magical Time

68: A Magical Time

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Christmas

A Magical Time

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

~Norman Vincent Peale

To say Mawmaw liked decorating her home for Christmas is a vast understatement. That would be like saying Santa thinks cookies are okay or Frosty somewhat enjoys a snowy day. My grandmother was the Queen of Christmas Decorating, second only to Mrs. Claus herself.

Every October Mawmaw would begin to purge the storage shed of its Christmas artifacts and fill the already crowded house to the brim. Patience was not a virtue when it came to Christmas. Plus, Mawmaw liked to perform this extreme home makeover by Halloween in order to, as she put it, “give the Devil a black eye.”

Many of my favorite childhood memories are set in her tiny, cozy home filled with treats, tinsel and trees. As soon as I entered her house it was as if I were transported to the North Pole. Bright red, shiny wrapping paper covered the door, making it look like the biggest Christmas present ever. The family room was overflowing with nativity scenes in all sizes and styles — large and porcelain, small and crystal. Mawmaw had two Christmas trees. One was more traditional, and the other was a bright white artificial spruce complete with pink ornaments, the vast majority of them hearts. You could see both trees at the same time in her small house.

My favorite decoration was a Christmas clock that she never took down. It played carols every hour, on the hour, the entire year.

This is a warm, fuzzy scene no matter your age. But seen through the eyes of a child, its magic was magnified.

The years went by, and after my grandpa passed away Mawmaw moved to a senior living community. I was worried that Christmas as I knew it was over.

My first visit to Mawmaw’s new place put that fear to rest. The nursing home displayed an enormous tree in the lobby near its floor-to-ceiling windows. They also had plenty of large wrapped presents for decoration. It felt warm, cozy and homey.

Mawmaw’s room was completely her. She had a lot of her most important possessions there, including Christmas decorations. A large, fuzzy snowman welcomed everyone into the room. The tree was now one foot tall and made of shiny plastic, but it was still there. The nativity scenes created a unique, miniature skyline across her windowsill against the snowy landscape outside.

And my favorite decoration? The Christmas clock? Mawmaw gave it to my parents. Now, when I visit my childhood home and hear a Christmas carol ring out every hour, I’m reminded of the permanence of Christmas. Places and circumstances change, time moves forward, but Christmas, family and the love that permeates them remains, no matter what.

~Traci Clayton

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