I can still remember hearing a thump on Christmas Eve and bolting out the front door, down the steps, and nearly running backward to catch a glimpse at the roof of my childhood home when I was small. I had missed him, Santa of course.
I remember the distinct smell and warmth of my sister’s house on Christmas Eve—bingo between dinner and dessert, presents when we could barely roll ourselves away from the table. I can still see my dad sitting in his chair with gifts up to his lap, still feel the icy chill of those late nights when we loaded up the car and pumped the heat on the way home, driving slow to see all the passing Christmas lights, year after year.
I remember mom, always surprised to unwrap another patchouli Yankee Candle, even though it’s what she got (and asked for) every holiday. I can still hear the consecutive beeps of the oven when Christmas dinner was ready.
The sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas have morphed into the magic for me since that night I stared up at our roof, since the night my dad forgot to drink the milk and eat the cookies when I hit that borderline age of maturity.
But I mustn’t forget the real magic is not shed along with my loss of innocence.
A few months ago, my husband and I adopted a puppy—a fiery miniature pinscher who terrorizes everything she comes in contact with, our constant source of belly-aching laughter. Just a few weeks after her adoption, I sat with the truck running beside our mailbox reading a letter from her former owner, a little boy who loved her dearly. His words reminded me of all those letters I carefully wrote to Santa, each one a pin of where I was in life—my hopes, my wishes.
So I wrote him back, from our puppy’s point of view. There is the magic, I say.
There is Christmas magic to be found in each story within this issue. Sometimes compiling these stories takes me aback—our community, despite all the heartache our country has endured this year, shines with gratitude for the things we have and what we’re able to give away. I hope this issue inspires you, fills you, leaves you merry in some magical way.
On the Cover
Santa Papa Pick visits the Kolbs residence in Mansion Heights for milk and cookies before his trip around the world! Learn more about Santa at SantaMontana.net. Photography Pamela Dunn-Parrish