Only a few hours to go now. My family room looks like a toy store as it waits for the children to bring the magic back. For a toy, as it is said on the Island of Misfit Toys, is never truly happy until it is in the hands of a child. Children bring the toys to life with their imaginations and the stories they tell. It is they who bring the magic that brings Christmas to life.
A red-haired, green-eyed Irish lass of a doll sits on a pink and white chair at a pink, polka-dotted table, waiting for a little girl to come and open the gaily wrapped picnic basket that holds a porcelain tea set just her size. She knows the other packages hold some new clothes for her to wear, a pink bath tub and a bed with a polka dot pillow. She keeps a wary eye on those tiny men in that castle across the room. They are small, but very loud, and she just knows there is a dragon lurking somewhere under the Christmas tree. That furry, friendly teddy bear says not to worry, Batman and his Batmobile will be ready to come to her rescue.
Don’t you miss the magic? As adults, we have an inner grown-up standing guard, reminding us we have out grown such fanciful things. As in the song, Puff, the Magic Dragon by Peter, Paul and Mary, “…a dragon lives forever, but not so little boys, painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys…”. We may try to recapture the magic. After all, there are video games to play, but the thing about those games is that the story is already written, no imagination required.
When my sister and I played with our Barbie dolls, and our little brother nearly ran them over with GI Joe in an army jeep, the Barbies just wrote him into the scene and hitched a ride. Poor Ken never had a chance. And no one ever questioned why Barbie and Joe or Barbie and Ken had three naked little troll children, with funny grins and long hair that stood up on end. We used what we had and our imaginations made it work. We had the magic.
But don’t despair. I have discovered two ways to bring the magic back. One way is to write stories. A perfectly accepted adult activity, yet one that encourages you back into the magical world of fairies and wood sprites, superheroes and villains, space travel, aliens, zombies and vampires. You can unleash your imagination and wander back into the realm of magic. You might want to stat by writng down the stories you made up as a child.
The second way to recapture the magic is to become a grandparent. Grandparents have carte blanche when it comes to playing with their grandchildren. As a grandparent, I can play tea party with dolls, wreak havoc as a monster, zombie or superhero. I can build castles, play post office or grocery store or work in a nursery. The inner grown-up is silenced because, after all, what else are grandparents for? They are not as rushed as parents are, and they do not care about what others think. They can silence their inner grown-up with one look at their grandchildren at play.
I can’t wait until tomorrow, when two very imaginative children run through my front door, with a “Hi, Grams,” as they rush to the tree and discover whole new worlds of imagination and wonder with the toys((now truly happy) in their hands. And, inevitably, I am touched by the magic too, when they ask, “Grams, will you play with me?’ You betcha’!
Music to my ears. The magic is back!