SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 23, 2013

Watson: A true tale of Christmas spirit

It was a few days before Christmas, and Marley was as excited as ever. She had turned 12 just a few weeks earlier, and though she had long ceased to believe in Santa Claus, she was still young enough and carefree enough to find the holiday season entirely magical and exceptional.

To her, it was almost as though the ordinary world — normally so gray, reserved, businesslike, and adult — was temporarily replaced with a world designed by and for children. And if not really created for children exclusively, at least made for the children in all of us.

Every year, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Marley thought the world became brighter, shinier, noisier, busier, colder, crisper, whiter, fuller and happier. In stores, on streets, in neighborhoods, in downtowns — no matter where you went — everything and everybody was better.

Houses had Christmas lights, and you could see trees in their living rooms. Stores were festive, and toys and gifts seemed to become most important. Music played everywhere. On sidewalks, people rang bells, and sometimes, you’d see groups singing. Best of all, everybody seemed to be smiling all of the time; and really best of all, children got a lot of attention.

Marley thought the best time of year might just be Christmastime. There was school vacation, family gatherings, parties, snowstorms and more fun than usual. There was lightheartedness — some people put wreaths on the front of their cars or wore ski hats with ears.

Around Christmastime, everything seemed possible to Marley. She felt the happiness, the optimism, the reciprocal goodwill and the security that seemed to define the holiday. The future seemed bright and promising and safe, and it would almost certainly be even better than the present.

But this year, something was wrong. Marley could see it and feel it. It was as though everybody — but the adults especially — hadn’t noticed that it was nearing Christmas. No magic was in the air; no exceptionalism, no zaniness and no brightness of any sort.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium