Editorial: 'Christmas waves a magic wand'

  • It's not the presents your kids and grandkids will remember years from now, but rather the traditions you keep on Christmas Day.

    It's not the presents your kids and grandkids will remember years from now, but rather the traditions you keep on Christmas Day. Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Our Christmas Day editorial first appeared on Dec. 25, 2011. This version has been slightly edited.

To those of us who celebrate Christmas, there is something about waking up this morning that is different from every other morning of the year.

As Norman Vincent Peale said, "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

Indeed it is. So let us welcome you to that magic today. Let us wish you good morning. Happy Christmas to you and yours.

There's been a bit of a political correctness in recent years that makes you almost self-conscious about saying that in public. We don't view it as the "war on Christmas" that some conservatives see. We understand the need for sensitivity toward people of all faiths.

But this morning, in offering a happy Christmas, we are not attempting to shove religion down anyone's throat. The sentiment simply reflects a wondrous, joyful spirit that gets somewhat lost during the rest of the year. To be sure, to many, many people, that spirit is irrevocably entwined with a deep and abiding faith. But Christians aren't the only ones to cherish this tradition; many secular humanists, for example, do so too, with glad hearts buoyed by similar magic.

It is a happy and, for many, exhilarating day.

In that respect, we happened the other day to ask one of our older editors to recall the best boyhood Christmas presents he received.

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The answer was accidentally insightful for both him and us.

Truth is, his greatest memories weren't gifts.

He started talking about his Christmases and what he talked about was the candlelight church service the family got dressed up to attend every Christmas Eve; the two stops Santa would make at his house, one dropping off "the big" present as he made his way south from the North Pole and the second dropping off the stocking as he made his return trip north; the turkey dinner his family always had and his mother saving the wishbone for two of the kids to break for good luck; his grandparents always being a part of the festivities; the milk and cookies the kids set out for Santa; the way the gift-opening was handled in his family, slowly one-by-one with kids first; the Sears catalog his mother always circulated.

She expected the kids to circle what they wanted. She also expected them to dream.

The traditions differ in each household, but it is good to be mindful today that it is the traditions that our children will remember. It is a day of making memories.

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree," observed Bill Vaughan, the folksy Reader's Digest writer known as Burton Hillis, "(is) the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other."

We wish good memories today for you and your family.

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