Holiday celebrations don’t happen by themselves. It takes a lot of thought, planning and A LOT of work to get the halls decked, the table set and the gifts wrapped under the tree.
Dan used to say things like, “Wow, isn’t this a great meal?”, or, “The kids got great presents this year”, or, “Isn’t it fortunate that you just had an extra gift laying around in case there was someone we forgot?”, or, “How cool is it that you had just the right number of lights to put on the tree?” All of which, are, on the surface, nice things to say, but they all imply that these things happened just by accident. I used to stare, unbelieving at him, until he’d look at me and say, “Oh, you did that on purpose, didn’t you?” (I’m not actually quoting him — I can’t remember the exact things he’s said, but they were at least in a similar spirit to these comments. He learned, a while ago, not to say things quite like that, so I don’t have any from recent, and therefore reliable, memory.)
No, you see, the magic fairies do these things. They come at night and shop, plan menus, clean, wrap gifts, do laundry, prepare food, change the sheets in the guest room, pack the car, pack extra clothes for the kids, write Christmas cards, decorate the tree, decorate the house, put batteries in everything, light the candles, and at the end of the holidays, they put everything neatly back in the closet so that it’s all preserved and easy to find next year. Those magic fairies are amazing!
I am the magic fairy at my house. Growing up, my mom was our magic fairy, and I never appreciated the scale of effort required to make the holidays happen until I had to do it myself.
It’s a ton of work, but I love it. I don’t do it because I have to, I do it because I want to. The real spirit of the holidays is, to me, in being the magic fairy — it’s in making everything happen, and then getting to experience and witness the wonder you’ve created. Being the magic fairy is what makes Christmas a whole season and not just one day. It’s a million times better than just showing up and enjoying what’s been put in front of you — that is fleeting and it doesn’t touch you the same way. The heart of the holiday is in the effort.
You should appreciate the magic fairies in your life, if you’re lucky enough to have them. They work really hard, which they enjoy, but it’s always nice to see that their effort has been noticed. Very little at the holidays “just works out perfectly” all by itself. Be careful, too, because this last part of December, the magic fairies who aren’t being appreciated have been known to bite. Just saying.