I have always known that December holds magic. As a child, there was the magic of Dad's voice, singing "We Need a Little Christmas" in his booming bass, a signal that it was time to decorate the house. We'd get out the ceramic Santa boots, the ornaments that have been around forever, the garland and penguin ornaments that went around the wagon wheel that hung over the fireplace, and the old paper mache nativity set complete with Mary's chipped nose. We used to drive Mom crazy with the nativity - some years, Mary had twins ... or we'd sneak other animals into the creche, like a bunny, or an owl, or a dog, or all three.
The magic of church during December always gave me chills. Lighting the Advent wreath, singing carols ... I have such memories of standing in "our" pew together as a family, singing in near-perfect four-part harmony.
Christmas Eve holds the most magic, for me. It's my favorite day of the entire year. When I was a teenager, it was the one night of the entire year that I felt beautiful - it was as if the night took over and I became someone else. My sisters and I would spend hours getting ready for church - a long bath, curlers in our hair, a new dress courtesy of Grandma Streede, new pajamas before bed (the one gift we could open on Christmas Eve, from Dad.) It was simply magic.
And today, that magic is still alive. My neighborhood is covered in a a sheet of ice, but from my seat in downtown Arlington Heights everything looks llike it's covered in sugar ... and I've watched several people magically fall on their fannies walking down the sidewalk!
It's Christmastime in the city, and it's magical.