Conjuring Christmas.

You know what really scares me?
Not the holiday itself but that each successive year, despite its ever earlier encroachment, it takes greater effort each year to summon a holiday spirit or conjure up a bright seasonal emotion which for decades was effortless.
Before Halloween has always been unreasonably out of the question, but before Thanksgiving they say, is now increasingly expected if you’re to enjoy the full value of the magic even though 58% of the country is still well over 73 degrees.
I say it’s just a little scary when it takes this much work to get happy.
So I went to WalMart.
If anything says Christmas in October, it’s WalMart, but then I found myself shopping retail for the best buy on a holiday spirit.
Then I turned on the radio station.
If I wasn’t snapping into the season quick enough, 24/7 carols sang the tune, but then I questioned if a song alone could make such an instrumental shift.
Over the weeks, I tried several near misses, disappointing myself every turn. Baking, decorating, bad sweaters, none seemed capable of the transitional trick.
I talked with Mom about it and she shared with me some memories of earlier Christmastimes when the magic didn’t seem so difficult to come by. I called my kids and chatted about it some and we laughed a little at remembering their first Santa Claus moments. But it was when my son away at school said he was coming home for Thanksgiving, I felt things inside me change, much like that moment in the Grinch, and it was then I encountered the obvious truth. Christmas isn’t created by things and stuff and trappings. It’s inside people.
It’s our special stories, our humored histories and the little searches we Google in talks with one another as the season begins to change and we grow just a little bit closer.
And then suddenly one morning, that little something tips the scales just enough to conjure the Spirit we sought all along. And for the first time of the season, and certainly not the last, we utter our first “Merry Christmas” to a stranger, and indeed, it has arrived.