Rediscover the magic of childhood

Now that Thanksgiving is past, it’s time to think about Christmas–happy, fun-filled, surprise-packed Christmas.
And, sometimes later in life, nostalgic Christmas.
Nostalgia: something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again. Yes, that’s nostalgia.
But for children, Christmas always should be magic–part of the magic of childhood.
How well I remember my early Christmases. In the middle of the Depression, my mother always spent far too much on Christmas gifts for my brother, Jim, and me.
I especially remember a wicker doll carriage, Depression glass doll dishes, and a tiny percolator that perks real coffee. And, always, dolls and more dolls.
But Christmas was only the tip of the iceberg of the magic of my childhood. The most important thing was “a sense of place.” I grew up in the town of Harrisburg in Lewis County, N.Y. on busy Highway 12 not far from the Canadian border.
Just beside our garden was the Grange Hall and next to that was the schoolhouse, which I could reach without walking on the highway.
But the school was no ordinary building. It was a beautiful New England church with a tall steeple. Unfortunately, the original schoolhouse had burned down some years earlier.
Across the highway was a very well-kept historic cemetery, with a tall iron fence and a gate that I could open. I mostly went there in the spring to smell the fragrance of the many lilacs.
And next to the cemetery was the farm of a cultured couple who had no children of their own. I called them Uncle Hi and Aunt Lena.
Uncle Hi had beautiful, gentle white horses. And, once in a long while, he would let me ride them.
On our own farm, the most special place for me was our maple woods–making maple syrup in the spring and gathering beautiful bouquets of Dutchman’s breeches, adder’s-tongue fern, and dainty violets.
Then finding red, orange, and yellow oak and maple leaves in the fall.
What a magical place to grow up. But, thinking back, I wonder whether my busy parents saw the magic and the wonder.
They worked so hard. They were so busy making a living that they never had time to wander around the elegant tombstones and smell the fragrant lilacs.
Did they ever notice how soft and gentle Uncle Hi’s horses were? Did they touch them? Did they even notice the stately pure white trillium blossoms in the spring?
Did they really value our historic 100-year-old house that once had been an inn for weary travellers? Or was it just an old house with too many bedrooms? I doubt they cared.
That’s what happens to people as they become adult. They let go of the magic and the wonder. Life gets too “daily.” We just do the shoulds!
It happened to my parents. It happened to me. If you are like most people, it probably has happened to you.
But you don’t have to take it lying down. It’s up to you to rediscover the magic–and don’t ever let go of the magic of childhood again!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at