SantaThe holidays may begin at certain pharmacies, department stores, and boutiques in August, but for me they begin the days following Halloween. I start thinking of giving thanks, the spirit of Christmas, and good will. I have to be stopped from pulling boxes of Christmas decoration out of storage in the garage. I settle for adding to Halloween decorations both inside and outside our house, even though we have had not one trick or treater for the past three years. And yet I keep buying the Big Bag of Nestles Assorted Candy Bars, Hershey’s Variety Pac, or the irresistible Halloween Bulk–just in case. Don’t smirk; you know you bought your favorites too. The health articles caution, buy the candy you don’t like then so you won’t be tempted to eat it. Ha, who would do that?

This may be a wandering way to get there, but this year my holiday thoughts began with this:

Now that we’re getting an average of seven holiday catalogues a day, I get a visual escape by browsing–Christmas and holiday cooking, travel gifts, national Geographic, museums, pajamas, dog gifts, food, fruit, candy, chocolate and decorations. I carefully fold down the edges of pages for possible purchases or even just things I like. I gravitate to the Mark Roberts holiday catalogue; it’s like Christmas eye candy. Mark Roberts designs incredible collectible Santas, Fairies, and holiday elves. I usually try to get a new Santa each year. They’re more than whimsical–they’re magical.

As the story goes, when Mark Roberts was a young child, his mother answered his “imponderable questions” with fanciful answers. The Snow Fairy brought snowflakes. The Gift Wrapping Fairies helped Santa. When he said he could never see the fairies, she said it was because “they are so quick and tiny, that in the blink of an eye, they’re gone.” This certainly must have influenced his artistic endeavor.

The influence on Mr. Roberts seemed to go beyond artistic design. When his mother died prematurely, he held onto this “in the blink of an eye, they’re gone.” Mr. Roberts says, “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it does not exist… The magic of life that surrounds us each and every day is there for us to reach out and find.”

That life is precious and sacred resonates with me. It seems far too many of my peers, and friends are ill, declining, or facing premature death. (And what death is not premature?). The frailty of some people dying travels deep inside me and shakes my heart. When the ripples finally travel through me I find they can be replaced–oh so gradually, with courage and gratitude. I will email, text, write, call friends and tell them I love them. I will open my arms to hug friends. If they take one tiny step in, I will envelop them.

I am grateful for my life. To have known and loved people who are gone. For the ability to share love and kindness. Life is magical and miraculous. Each of us is a miracle. I will strive to view each person in my life as a miracle. Let the miracle of the holidays begin.