We once had a neighbor, the father of three little girls, who cast a spell every Christmas Eve.
After he and his family returned home from church, and late enough that all little children would be in bed, he bundled up, ventured outside and slowly walked around the perimeter of his house, shaking a bridle of sleigh bells.
The sound carried in the cold, quiet night, and our children, who were little too, would hear them from where they lay in bed, snuggled in new Christmas pajamas, pretending to sleep but waiting for Santa. We’d already set out cookies and milk by the fireplace, along with some carrots and a bowl of water for Rudolph. But the sound of those bells off somewhere in the night — that father’s one perfect detail for his girls — made Santa seem real not only for them but for everyone within earshot, leaving all of us with a memory to treasure on Christmas Eves since.
As we settle in for our long winter’s nap, we wish you all the magic of the season. (And just like that, as if on cue, outside my window it just started snowing.)