The magic of Christmas is made of so many things. Images, traditions, ornaments you know by heart, smells, baking and cooking, stories... it would depend much on the family you came from, but I guess everyone has at least one tradition or two they would like to preserve.
At one moment or another we are probably all asked to invent our own traditions. But I, for instance, still hope I'll catch a fleeting glimpse of what Christmas was when I was little. Not the family tensions, of course, but the good parts.
Waiting through Advent. Hoping for the gift I wished for.
Singing songs around the Advent wreath each Advent Sunday (it seems we are a rather traditional family), which has left my siblings and me with a surprising amount of Christmas Songs we know by heart. Something that doesn't last forever, the knowing by heart part. Our parents need the songbooks these days.
When we were Teenagers there were moments when we were taken with laughter and were unable to sing another note. Just imagine the solemn moment: The whole family gathered around the wreath and someone starts laughing. It's irresistible. Our parents have gotten used to it. You can't really expect someone to be thirteen and not be silly, can you now ?
If you are looking for something that's bound to remind you what the magic of Christmas is, it would be the 'Letters from Father Christmas' by J.R.R. Tolkien.
He wrote letters to his children for twenty years, pretending to be Father Christmas. There is an astonishing number of characters he invents throughout the years and if you haven't read them yet, you have no idea about how many things can go wrong on Christmas Eve or during the Christmas preparations. The New York Times has a small slide show with some of the illustrations from these letters and some short explanations, if you're interested.
Personally, I think they're magical.
Jen, you won yesterday's Advent gift. Would you let me know your address again, please ? I'm not sure I have it somewhere I might find it before New Year's Eve.