My favorite thing about Christmas was being a kid, waking up on Christmas morning and finding that Santa had left more gifts than I could even wrap my head around playing with. I doubt that my “favorite thing” is unique to me.
I enjoyed spending the day with family and going from our house to my grandma’s, which was about 200 yards up the street, to open more presents and enjoy a fulfilling breakfast casserole that became a tradition. We always watched movies that Santa brought. It really was the most comfortable, fun time of the year for a kid.
Now I find myself experiencing that same joy watching Cole and Gracie enjoy Christmas. Santa and Mrs. Claus scrap and save to bring them as many material things as they possibly can. And like when I was little, they end up with more toys, games, movies and gadgets than they can even wrap their heads around. And I end up with more to put together than I can wrap my head around. But I see in them a little of me when I was little.
The magic of Christmas is really all around us. It’s in the children. It’s in our community. It’s really wherever you choose to see it.
If I have any soft spots – notice I said “if” – they are for kids and the elderly. Last Thursday may have been the neatest thing I have seen all Christmas season. The kindergarten students from East Coffee Elementary stopped by to visit the residents at Autumn Oaks Assisted Living Center in Manchester. They stopped by, handed out some gift bags and sat down and colored pictures with the residents. As simple as that may sound, I think the picture on the front page of this week’s paper says it all. That gesture meant so much to those residents and you could see it all over their faces.
I doubt that kids realize that actions like that mean so much to those around them. Heck, even I struggle to remember that my actions affect people. I doubt they understand that the smiles they bring and the joy that they spread just by being themselves can make the Christmas season for a few folks. And maybe it didn’t mean as much to those residents as it did to me just watching them interact. But I think it did.
There are acts of kindness all around us. The Coffee County Sheriff’s Department is helping hundreds of families through food and toy drives, the Manchester Police Department buzzed around town in a truck delivering toys to those less fortunate and I’m sure there are countless acts of kindness in our community each day leading up to Christmas.
The season really brings out the best in us. We are fortunate to live in a place where there are people to help those who need it.
Merry Christmas, Manchester.