The Hope of Magic

Family Blog Nosh Magazine{by Jennifer from Playgroups Are No Place For Children}

One of my children’s favorite books is The Polar Express. They’ve been begging to have it read to them nearly every night since the first Christmas commercial was broadcast back in October. I also love this story, it’s beautiful illustrations and the reminder about the true magic and spirit of Christmas.

On the other hand, BAH HUMBUG.

I think I first began to lose the magic of the Christmas season the first December after Tate and I were married. Instead of looking forward to all the merriment and celebration, it started to feel like nothing more than a to-do list.

1. Attend the same Christmas party that had been cranked out every year before.
2. Fret and stress over over every gift purchase.
3. Travel long distances home for the holiday and bounce from one relative’s house to another, trying to keep everyone else happy.
4. Unpack 1,000 ornaments out of their boxes to decorate the tree, only to have to repack them three weeks later.
5. Hear the same sappy Christmas songs on loop, no matter your location.

And the list could go on and on. So for the past several years, I’ve invited Scrooge and all his angst into my heart to endure the purgatory of December.

Since having our kids, I’ve really have tried to feign a festive spirit during the holidays. Carson and Ella at least deserve an attempt at a joyous holiday. We’ve spent time drinking cocoa by the fireplace, baking cookies, and building gingerbread houses, all while wearing Christmas aprons. FESTIVE, I tell you! Both of the kids so young, I had no idea if my artificial attempts and creating an atmosphere of magic had made an impression on them.

It was Carson’s reaction to our preparations for this year’s holiday that started to replace the Scrooge in my heart with the magic that I’d lost. Now that he’s four-years-old and starting to understand the true meaning of Christmas, the baby Jesus, the giving to the less fortunate, and not just the gifts and goodies, I can see that my faux holiday joy in the years past has made a difference.

Before decorating our Christmas tree last weekend, I complained to my mom that I was really dreading the whole process of decorating and artificial holiday spirit.

“You’ll enjoy the holidays again, because your kids will start to love Christmas,” she told me, wisely.

As we took the 1,000 ornaments out of their boxes, Carson, studied each ornament with wonder. He held them carefully in his hands, his eyes opened wide in amazement, as if welcoming home a long lost friend. Each ornament was carefully placed on the tree. It was, dare I say it…magical!

Carson has also started to repeat some of my jolly holiday phrases that I’ve been saying each December since he was born. My favorite thing he’s said so far had to be, “Why don’t we get some hot chocolate and go sit by the fire to warm up,” he suggested after breakfast one morning.

Each morning Carson has a new holiday activity planned. The first order of business everyday is to plug in the Christmas tree lights. We simply cannot even think of eating breakfast without the glow of Christmas tree lights! Once we’ve eaten, he’s suggested we bake some cookies, wear Santa hats, or make that house thing with the candy.

“Remember, Mommy? We made that house thing and put candy all over? We used icing to make snow all over it? Remember that, Mommy?” And of course I remember the gingerbread house from last year (that I secretly had to glue together when the kids weren’t looking) and I’m actually looking forward to decorating one again this year.

I’m finally starting to get that feeling of holiday merriment back, thanks to Carson. He’s given me loads of hope that I that the holidays can be fun and full of magic again. It is such a cliche, but seeing Christmas again through the eyes of a child has reminded me that the holidays aren’t about the neverending to-do list, but about the traditions and magical spark in my children’s eyes.


This post is part of a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine and this post was sponsored by the Tide Loads of Hope program. This incredibly worthy cause, travels to people displaced by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters and washes clothes for them. Imagine not even having clean clothes! Thanks to Tide Loads of Hope for offering such a glimmer of magic to people in need.

You, too, can be a part of this fantastic carnival that supports the Tide Loads of Hope Program. Please consider writing your own post about what brings you “loads of hope” during the holidays.

Also, please follow along with us on Twitter on Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we share stories from people in New Orleans, still living in FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina. You can follow the hashtag #loadsofhope and Tide’s account, @TideLoadsofHope.


Jennifer writes, photographs, and shares her life and sense of humor on her personal blog, Playgroups are No Place for Children. Her blog is a mix of parenting trials and tribulations, recipes, and a battleground for resolving marital disputes. Blog Nosh Magazine is also proud to have her as their Managing Editor. Subscribe to Jennifer’s blog so you won’t miss a thing and while you’re at it, follow her on Twitter.


Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below. Explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?

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5 Comments to “The Hope of Magic”

  1. [...] out!  Click on over to Blog Nosh Magazine to read the exciting conclusion and learn more about this Blog Carnival, sponsored by the Tide [...]

  2. Oh wow, I totally relate to this, from being a little ho hum about it to finding the magic from the kids. And you list of five? SPOT ON!

  3. This year is the first year in a long time that I have let the Christmas Spirit just surge through me. It isn’t crazy or even really festive looking in our house yet, but I am cherishing each of these moments this holiday instead of hiding in a corner.

  4. Shannon says:


    That was beautiful. I was just imagining the excitement on Carson’s face decorating your tree. Hope you have a great holiday!

  5. Oh, Jennifer, I so know this. I think we are living parallel lives.

    Thank you for sharing; it touched my heart!