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Mommy Musings - Christmas Wonderment and Lessons
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Magic is in the air and I am so grateful.

I try my best to take in the ‘magic’ as often as possible, but admittedly sometimes life just gets in the way. When this happens (this life business), sometimes the view becomes a bit blurred. But as with anything in life, when we finally pause and shine things up a bit we may then appreciate what has been put before us.

So, here we are amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and I am (as per usual) overcome with gratitude for all that is my life.

I feel it fair and somewhat necessary to be completely honest and with full disclosure offer to our readers that my life is very far from being perfect. I have however in the past year come to accept (well, actually embrace) that the imperfections are perhaps the things which not only make it the most desirable but make it solely mine.

The fabric of what is ones life looks different from year to year. Each year we face the void of loved ones lost, celebrate the addition of new family members be it through birth or union and face and accept any additional hurdles which have been placed in our path.

Yet I digress, a bit. This week, I choose to speak of the ‘magic.’ I have no doubt that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles alike understand what this ‘magic’ entails. It is the magic and splendor also commonly known as Christmas.

Yes, Christmas … not the Holidays, I’ll leave that topic for another person to pen. Me and mine, we celebrate Christmas. We have a Christmas tree with an angel on the top of it and a manger at the base. We also have a menorah and a dreidel, as well as books on both holidays. I grew up among religious diversity and so too are my children. We also believe in Santa Claus and as of last year we are also home to an ‘Elf on the Shelf.’

For those who may have missed the ‘Elf’ craze, it is indeed just one more artifact to add and foster the wonderment of the season.

Wikipedia sums it up nicely stating “The Elf on the Shelf comes in a keepsake box that features the hardbound book and a small pixie scout elf. It is a Christmas tale of how ‘Santa’ knows who is naughty and nice. The described tradition of ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ usually begins around Thanksgiving and lasts until Christmas Eve, when the elves return to the North Pole until the next holiday season.”

When our ‘elf’ first arrived last year, my children named it and then registered it so the North Pole knew it made it safely to your home. Our elf is named ‘Shelf’ and he arrives in our home every year on December 1.

As the story goes, each night while we sleep he returns to the North Pole to report to Santa on the children’s behavior. Each day that he returns he lands in a new location of our home. Now, there has been occasion where he has not moved during the night. This turn of events usually prompts my children to revisit their behavior from the previous day. For instance, was their behavior less than desirable prompting Shelf to not want to make a bad report? One never knows.

Shelf just ups the ‘magic’ quotient in our home during the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Upon waking each morning my five-year-old races from her room to see where Shelf has landed. Some may recall it was not long ago that she challenged the notion of the fat man in the red suit; Shelf has helped get her past that hurdle.

Each morning as we sit for breakfast the wonderment of a five-year-old mind ‘supposes’ what Shelf’s night must have been like. Last year, my daughter and a few friends even discussed their elves possibly ‘hanging out’ together at the North Pole. For 24 days, Shelf becomes part of our family. He is no different than our cat or dog. He is referred to randomly and often.

Last week I shared that I am always looking for the opportunity to teach lessons to my children through everyday life and well … Shelf is no different. His presence encourages my children to be kind, on good behavior and respectful of one another. Without fail, at some point mommy manages to turn this into a lesson about Jesus and the people God wishes us to be. He sees all, I tell my duo.

My belief has been and will always remain that we should not be good for what is to come later; we should be good because that is who God has intended us to be. The best life is the one lived pure and without expectation as to what is to come as a result of our actions. Now that is the true ‘magic.’

So as each of you meander through the final days of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, my hope is that you see … even better that you feel the ‘magic’. The ‘magic,’ be it through the giggle of a child, the kindness of a stranger or the overwhelming sense to touch the life of a stranger … may you indeed be blessed by the unassuming ‘magic.’ Merry Christmas.

 Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.