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This year my family is taking our festivities on the road – Home for the holidays!

Already I’m anxious. I know how Christmas works at my house – how Santa, barely audible, whistles his team into action so as not to awake the neighboring kids (a ridge vent that ‘whistles’ when the wind hits it just right; not foolproof but isn’t that the magic of Christmas!) At our house we leave hot wings and pizza for Santa because the thought of another cookie must surely make his tummy hurt. (Yep, implemented the year I forgot the cookies then, burned the batch I made from scratch. It MUST have been a sign.) My baking did improve, as last year a certain elf ate every cookie in the house and thought it best to wash them down with Bailey’s when the milk ran out and left the bottle under the tree. (It only takes one try loose a baby doll from the package to know that what has not been heat wrapped is tied down with more thread than a Gullah quilt!)

Everything un-Santa I blame on the elves. For all my attempts, nothing beats the show my mother puts on.

In my defense I have left frosty footprints between the fireplace and the tree, a few toward the bathroom for that our-house-is extra-specialness. Leaving the TV on the weather channel as if Santa were tracking his route was priceless!

My mother is Glenda the Good Elf, the true Queen of Noel.

I already know who will have ‘just left’ when we arrive, asking about ‘two little girls that can’t possibly be as good as he’s heard’. I’ll reach for cookies set out in such precision that I still ask, “Are these for everyone?” And, even though her tree is not real, she will have spritzed every just-like-pine-branch so that it smells fresh cut that morning and every room and smells of peppermint, holly, snow, chocolate – CHRISTMAS!!!

Seeing my kids fall under the spell of Christmas excess, and knowing as I remember it, that no child is jaded enough to not fall under Glenda’s spell, is to me the joy of Christmas. In order to not foil the ruse, I have to play along with it all, even encourage it and away I go, headlong into the fantasy, dreaming as seven year-olds do, all over again.

Of course I hope that Christmas morning greets you with the sanctity of the day’s intent but just for a moment, allow yourself to fall foolishly into Christmas.

Many joys to you and yours and, wishing you in advance, all that you can stand in 2011.

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