This Christmas the Crankee Yankee and I gave our 2.5 year old granddaughter, Ava, a bag of presents. Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal; a fairy tale book I had when I was 7, a Doc McStuffins puzzle set, some plastic elves and some Dollar Store stuff including a pair green gauze fairy wings and a light-up blue heart “magic wand.”
Ava loved the wand and wings, and the first thing she wanted to do was to fly–of course. There she stood, in her Christmas dress and pink tights, wings on her shoulders and wand at the ready. Her mother said, “Say the magic words to fly!”
Ava cried out, “Pixie dust–AWAAAAY!” And off she flew, powered by her dad’s arms, all around the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the hallway and back into the living room. She screamed in delight all the way, waving her bright blue magic wand, and yelling, “I FWYING!!” You just can’t beat magic like that.
It’s taken me over six decades to realize that it isn’t so much the price of the gift you give, it’s what the gift means to the giftee. Thinking back over the Christmases past as I like to do this time of year, I remember some of the gifts I was given and how much they meant to me. For instance, the year my uncle gave me the fairy tale book I just passed on to Ava, I can still feel how those stories felt to me when I read them for the first time. The cover of the book was a deep, glossy emerald green, exactly the color of the plush moss in the meadow behind my grandparents’ house. The front cover had a red-haired, freckle-faced little pixie wearing a yellow flower as a hat, sitting on a mushroom, telling stories to prettily dressed children. I called it my Green Fairy Book, and read it over and over again.
Those stories took me far away to another place where magic lived, and I could expect anything from a wicked witch who enticed children into her delicious candy house to a wolf lying in a grandmother’s bed, waiting for Little Red Riding Hood. When I finished reading, I would put the book up for the day, feeling the enchantment of those moments slowly slip away—then I was back to my ordinary life. For a while, I would feel a little empty, missing that magic, but I knew it would be right back whenever I picked up the book again.
I wish for this magic for my incredible, amazing and utterly wonderful Ava. My hope is that Ava and all children may have all the skills they need to become good and wise adults, but still keep a corner in their hearts for wonder, joy and of course–magic.