'Chwistmas Wights' help brighten the season

Editor’s note: This column was originally published Dec. 3, 2006.


There’s a logical explanation for everything, but there are times when the workings of the human mind, particularly that of a 5-year-old, defies logic.

My son Billy went to kindergarten Monday wearing his new school T-shirt over a turtleneck.

When Billy came home, he was still wearing the turtleneck — backward — but the T-shirt had, apparently, vanished.

“Billy, where’s your T-shirt?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you take it off?”

“I didn’t take it off.”

“Then why aren’t you wearing it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you get hot and take it off?”


“Did you spill something on it and take it off?”


“Why did you take it off?”

“I didn’t take it off.”

“Did you sneeze really hard and it blew away?”

“Dad, that’s silly.”

The plot thickened Tuesday when I stopped by his classroom to ask his teacher if she had spotted a T-shirt that was missing a boy.

“I thought he looked different when he came back from music,” she said.

As it turns out, Billy’s shirt actually disappeared without him taking it off, sort of. His class had donned old shirts to use as smocks for a potentially messy project. When Billy pulled off his painting shirt, he must have pulled off his T-shirt as well, and he never noticed.

As mysteriously as his T-shirt disappeared, it magically reappeared the next day. He wore it home over his rugby shirt Tuesday afternoon.

While there was a logical explanation behind the disappearance and reappearance of Billy’s T-shirt, it’s also a nice reminder of the season to spend some time looking at the world through the eyes of someone perfectly willing to accept magic as a logical explanation for the way things work.

Our Christmas lights turn on and off automatically with a light-sensing timer — magic — and it was around this time last year that Billy started sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night and setting up a bedroll by the fireplace hearth to keep watch for Santa.

As an adult, it seems like there’s been so much baggage attached to the holiday season — commercial, political, philosophical and otherwise — that it’s sometimes hard to just sit back and take in the wonder of the season. It’s hard to hear the message of peace and hope over the din of advertisers, pundits arguing over the “attacks on Christmas” and bad news from around the community and the state splashed across headlines and on the nightly news.

Having young children helps. Ask them what their favorite part of Christmas is, and my kids will quickly reply, “Gifts!” Their second and third answers also are “Gifts,” but in their defense, my mother works for a toy company, one that makes Star Wars toys, and both kids know something good is coming.

However, when we say our informal grace before dinner, where we each take a turn to share something we’re thankful for, my 3-year-old daughter, Grace, always says, “Christmas lights.” (Actually, she says “Chwistmas wights,” but we’re working on that.)

Christmas lights — it’s such a simple answer, but it’s a good one. Is there a better sign of hope than the twinkling of lights in the darkness? Is there a better way to find peace, at least for a few minutes, than by snuggling up under a blanket on the couch and taking in the beauty of a nicely decorated tree, with lights reflecting off the ornaments?

Here’s hoping you’re able to feel the wonder and magic of the holiday season — and that you don’t have to lose your shirt to do it.

Clarion editor Will Morrow can be reached at will.morrow@peninsulaclarion.com.


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