Because gifts is my primary love language, I have many tinsel and twinkle light hued memories from childhood. Every Christmas was wrapped with a mysterious magic that I wore like a cloak as soon as my grandmother’s tree was up. The warmth that filled my spirit when those familiar ornaments found their destined branches, was unlike anything else I had known. Every single, child-like remembrance I have from my reel of Christmas’ past is fuzzy and happy and near to perfection.
While I have no gift that I remember as being so incredibly sentimental or touching, it almost seems as though every single gift which had held residence beneath my grandmother’s Ocotillo street Christmas tree became that very exact sort of present to me. Because they were Christmas gifts they became immersed with a better-than-Hallmark-movies sort of something. The best gifts when I look back, from those very best Christmases, were the ones that belonged more in tradition. In a childhood that was more dark and unpredictable, the very assurance that Christmas eve would hold dressing up, corsages, holiday vinyl albums on the stereo and fresh tamales in the kitchen. There were platters of crackers and spreads, and fruits with cheeses and so much love and laughter. I remember no other place in time that held as much love and laughter as my grandmother’s amber lit home on Christmas Eve.
One Christmas in particular, my grandmother brought me up to open my annual “early gift”. It would have been roughly five or six because my grandfather was still alive. I tried to imagine what this square, wrapped jewel of a gift could be, but nothing came to me. I was consumed with the eagerness of needing the magic to last forever, and desperately wanting to know what treasure lie beneath the candy printed paper. The unwrapping revealed a very underwhelming Minnie Mouse watch. I had never had much of an affection either way, where Disney characters were concerned. I had never placed a watch (a face watch, no less, when all of the other 80’s kids were certainly wearing digital) on my list to Santa. All in all, at the time, the build up had felt much bigger than the actual gift.
The coming-to-terms-with the wrist accessory was accompanied by smiles on my grandfather’s beautiful face, and my grandmother telling me about responsibility, time management and big girl stuff.
While the intention may have been that I would have marched forth, from that annual tradition, feeling empowered and ready to grow into the next phase of my adolescence and what lay ahead, instead I left super disappointed and questioning the “magic” of Christmas at all.
I never did fall in love with that watch. I tossed into the mountains of junk in my room and it moved around with toys and other things I never took care of. When I would come upon it, I would feel pricked with the familiar, settling shame. I should have loved it. After my grandfather died, whenever the watch and I crossed paths, I would find my mind flooded with the shining memory of his loving, smiling face. This, naturally, did not help the guilt residing comfortably inside of me.
I don’t know what happened to that watch, eventually we stopped crossing paths at all. When I moved into foster care, at twelve, very few of my things went with me. I never did forget that watch, or the real gifts that were given that early December night- gifts which took me years to truly unwrap…
I love Mickey AND Minnie Mouse.
I love watches. In fact, I love clocks, period. I feel that watches and clocks are among the most intentional, beautiful and sentimental gifts imaginable. They are the closest we can get to giving someone the gift we all truly ache for: time. Time together, time to grow, time to simmer in our circumstances and allow our flavor to truly develop. That little watch, (which likely wasn’t nearly as expensive or fancy as my memory has carved it out to be) did give me all of that and so much more.
I LOVE organization and time management. I believe in being early and I really struggle with being late. I value timeliness in others.
Best of all, I have this beautiful memory of these two beloved faces, warm hands and full embraces. As an adult, I also have the perspective of why adults give gifts to children, and how that works. To a kid, it is almost always just stuff. To my grandparents, they intentionally pulled me aside and created a moment to give me something bigger than a timepiece. Maybe they knew my grandfather would die. Maybe they knew my life at home was blanketed in unspeakable evil and this was how they shared it as temporary. I will never know, because they are both gone now, but to me I learned so much (eventually) about holding tight to moments and time, to the smiling warmth of the ones I love.
My beautiful gift to you, today, is a video of this hauntingly beautiful song by Andrea and Matteo Bocelli (From the major motion picture the Nutcracker and the Four Realms.)
All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” releases in theaters on November 2.
For more information, please go to: https://movies.disney.com/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms