Column: And in this Corner

Holiday Magic in the In-Betweens


Blair Cohn

Holiday magic can be found in the most unexpected moments

These are the “dark-early” months, a clear sign that winter is near as are the holidays. Well, I guess the holidays have been here since September according to Costco and Target, but you get my drift. Now enter all the family rituals of enjoying lights on houses, decorations on lawns and the holiday parades. Soon, cars will drive home with trees on them.

My favorite moments during the holiday season come not when you would most expect them. It’s not when we all sit down at the Thanksgiving table or when we take turns opening presents. It’s also not the shopping for special gifts or mailing our holiday cards.

All of that is great, but there are real magic moments of time during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah that evoke that true sense of warmth, happiness and satisfaction as advertised on TV. I guess you might compare these moments to the cozy comfort feeling of lounging in pajamas all day with nowhere to go and no agenda on the calendar but that’s still not quite right.

I’m going to try my best to better describe these moments for you.

The magic for me happens in the in-betweens. It usually happens after all the ritual and ceremony.

The magic starts when the cheering is over for the football games; when the TV is off; when the music is off.

After the belt buckles are loosened, the pants are unbuttoned due to overstuffing, and shoes get kicked off.

After the stress levels of the prepping and anticipation for the holidays starts to subside; The magic exists when everyone has all gone home and when the house guests have all gone to bed;

When the holiday table still has evidence of the big gathering; the wine glasses have barely a sip at the bottom and stand together on the table in conversation of their own;

When the room has a tangible feeling of the eight hours of preparation for the gathering;

The magic exists when the candles burn themselves out with long, thin trails of smoke that call an end to ceremony.

It exists when it’s dark and cold outside in contrast to the oven warmth and toasty feeling from the heater or fireplace in the house.

It’s when the lights in the house are mostly off, but just the lamp in the corner give that late-night warm glow; and when just a few houses on the block glow the same way and when the neighborhood is completely still.

The magic comes when the rooms are quiet, but the walls still hold the sound of laughter, discussion, small talk, gossip and good cheer.

It’s when some of the dishes are already loaded into the washer but most are left stacked with souvenirs of the great feast; When you are stuffed from feasting (and snacking) all day long but the plates of desserts with a just a few cookies and cakes on them still look tempting.

It’s when the stains on the tablecloth are not even dry yet.

It’s when there are just a few shreds of ribbons, bows and wrapping paper on the floor.

It’s when you’re tired but are not quite ready to give up on the night and you just sit by yourself for a minute to replay it all, and you listen to the silence; you playback all the conversations in your head. You smile. You sing songs from the night. You think of your mother who is no longer around to enjoy these nights.

It’s when you are able to catch one last episode of the Twilight Zone Marathon before the news comes on.

The magic comes just at that time you crawl into bed with cold sheets and pillows and fall into a deep, deep sleep.

It’s the time when you wake up in the morning after sleeping in and have no sense of a rush.

And it’s just before the first cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and the house is covered in memories and holiday season surrounding, and you just feel content.

I hope you all enjoy your holidays and find your magic moments of the season.