Maybe it’s the giddiness of Christmas morning. The tired smiles that couldn’t sleep even when counting reindeer. The crumbs of the cookies resting on the table that escaped the plate. The “Santa has the same wrapping paper as we do!” Or even the beautiful gullibility of being told that magic is out there.
But what if it really does? What if it’s found in the stories that are hidden in the creases of the hands, where the skin gathers? What if it’s found in the traditions that parents passed down to their kids? What if magic is real?
Traditions, family and a little magic are the essence of a community. It’s the strength, the heritage and the timeless, but real, folklore. As the grass gets buried underneath white and the once blue-sky dissolves into gray, there is something warm and consistent found in the magic of holidays and tradition. It’s warm. It’s known. It’s beautiful.
This year, though, there isn’t much room for the magic of tradition. The spark that once burned warm and bright has been snuffed out by masks and social distancing. But it’s still there, glowing, if you look. It is in the memories of sharing holiday conversations with those who are unable to sit at the table with us. The memories of dancing around the kitchen with a parent while cookies sit in the oven, slowly burning. But memories only go so far until emotions tiptoe in. Sometimes it seems impossible to continue family traditions when someone is gone and we are filled with sorrow and regret. Sometimes, we see their favorite candy sitting on the table. Sometimes we see their favorite chair cold and empty. But time doesn’t seem to stop; neither do magic and tradition. New memories, not to replace any, but to understand that happiness is all around. It’s the afterglow of past joys and smiles; it never seems to burn out.
If anything, it’s the steady tradition that keeps me sane. If that’s stepping into an imaginary world full of fairies and giddy Christmas joy, I’ll do it. I remember how it felt to believe in a world like that. I remember feeling like I knew of a secret, cheerful world that no one else knew and I had to keep under wraps. I remember believing that the holidays were the only time when real magic occurred.
Now, I understand the magic was just the love of my family. The excitement, the actions behind the scenes, the stories and the excited daze. I believe in magic, not because I’m a little crazy, but because joy is contagious. And during this time, I wouldn’t mind catching it.
Maybe it’s the giddiness, but I don’t think so.
— Hannah Morgan, a native of Wyoming County, is attending WVU in pursuit of a career in journalism. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org