I have always been one of those fence-sitters who had a small ethical dilemma about fairy tales. Yeah, I tell my child a small lie. But the amount time that a person gets to believe in magic in the world - real magic - is so short. The real, adult world has so many flaws and harsh truths and disappointments, and he'll have to deal with those soon enough. So how could I deprive my son of the right to enjoy the wonder that comes from believing so purely in something?
I knew that the discovery was going to happen sooner or later. And this year, it did, when another child told him that his beliefs weren't real. He got off his schoolbus and looked me in the face and asked for the truth.
I asked him, "Are you sure? You can't un-know the truth." He was sure. So I told him.
Predictably, he was a little sad that magic vanished from his life.
I'll be honest; the magic disappeared from the Holiday season a long time ago for me. I haven't felt the spirit for a while. My family is secular, and our traditions of holiday togetherness have been thrown into disarray due to distance, illness, and friends and family forming new traditions of their own. So we've had only commercial ties to Christmas lately - and that's nothing that brings any joy.
But my son needed me to restore his joy in Christmas, even though I was having a crisis of spirit myself. And I blurted out the first thing that came into my head as I pointed to my heart: "The real magic in Christmas comes from here."
And that's when I realized, that in this time of unsettled feelings, sadness and anger - when there's so much terrible news around - I can't wait for other people to help me find my holiday spirit. I shouldn't wait. I have to work at it, too. Good feelings start from within, and even if I don't feel so Christmassy now, the act of consciously doing things that will bring those good feelings will help bring that spirit back.
So I created a list of 30 acts of kindness to help seek out that Christmas spirit that anyone can do. And I'm going to do them with my son. Please consider joining me.