We Need a Little Snappy, Happy Ever After, We Need a Little Christmas Now
Ever notice how Christmas comes at the right time of year? When it is at its darkest, and starting to get cold and dreary? Even without snow, Christmas lights brighten things up a bit, and with the promise of some snow in the forecast, we could awaken any day to a winter wonderland.
The song, “We Need A Little Christmas” by Jerry Herman, really hits the spirit of the season. My favourite lines are:
“For I’ve grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older, And I need a little angel, Sitting on my shoulder, Need a little Christmas now.”
We seem to make Christmas into a hassle with endless lists of things to do to make it merry and bright, and sometimes lose out on the magic of the whole season. I read an interview with Santa in the book, “A Family Christmas” compiled by Caroline Kennedy, and the word magic was used no less than six times in answer to various questions. Asked how reindeer fly, the jolly elf said that they are fed a magic mixture of corn and oats that only grows near the North Pole. Magic was also the one word answer he gave to the questions, “how you fit down the chimney”, and “how do you get into a home that does not have a chimney”.
How does he fly around the world in one night? Santa says it takes “a combination of lots of practice, judicious use of time zones, and of course, a little magic. And how does he know who has been naughty and who has been nice? You got it: Magic.
What is magic? I have a two part definition: it is the suspension of disbelief; and the belief that there are things that happen we cannot explain. (It could be argued that this is also the basis of faith—but that is a topic for another place and another time.) The best dictionary definition I found, (among many) is that magic is a supernatural power that makes impossible things happen.
Right now, there is a group of people who want us to only believe in those things we can prove—Darwin is their main man, and they only want to deal in things that can be substantiated. I have no argument with these people—in fact I think it is easy to follow this dictum as it takes us out of the world of imagination, into a world of grounded thought. At various times in my life, I too have wanted proof positive, but have come to the conclusion that it does not exist. I like to think that there are things that happen that there are no easy or worldly answers to.
I am not talking magic as in the world of potions and spells, enchantments and bewitchments. I am talking about magic as inexplicable and astonishing, miraculous and exquisite.
If reindeer do fly—it is magic. When Santa makes it down the chimney unscathed-it is magic. By the way, when he does get to your house, he made it very clear in his interview that he likes all kinds of milk except buttermilk, and loves all kinds of cookies, but most especially Christmas cookies. His favourite colour is red (who knew?); he has hundreds and hundreds of elves; and can remember without hesitation the names of his reindeer. And yes, he does count Rudolph as one of his reindeer.
When asked how old he is, Santa replied: “As old as my tongue, and slightly older than my teeth.” So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth so to speak. And what is it that Santa wants for Christmas? Without batting an eye he says: “Peace on earth, goodwill towards all people.” Now where have we heard that before?