It is a story about love and magic.
|It was a week before Christmas and the downtown shops were bustling with holiday shoppers spilling out onto the crowded sidewalks. The air was crisp and clear. I could faintly hear “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” playing on the outdoor speakers. My mom and I were searching for the perfect center piece to accent my holiday table. Now, that I was married and had a family of my own I took on the Christmas Eve tradition of hosting both families. I wanted to make everything special, as it would be the third year gathering for the holiday without the grandparents that had passed away.
They were the ones that would make the holidays come to life with spreads of food fit for a king and delicate china settings that would adorn the decorated holiday table. I missed those days and cherished the time we had gathered around a crowded table filled with laughter and overflowing cups of holiday cheer.
We walked into a store and my mom called out, “Celeste, how about this one?” It was a traditional red velvety poinsettia plant with plastic holly berries, basic and plain. I looked at it for a moment and said, “No, I want something different.” We continued our search from shop to shop and then we came upon a store we had never been in before.
It read Holiday Décor written in a bright red bold font on a stand-up chalk board sign outside door. When we walked into the store, the smell of cinnamon and evergreen wafted through the front door almost pulling you by the nose. It was decorated so beautifully throughout with twinkling trees and heavy porcelain ornaments that hung about. Every table was decorated with the utmost care. I turned to my mom and said, “This is the place!”
I quickly spotted the perfect centerpiece on a table. It was a long wooden rustic box that was decorated with silver and gold ornaments and tiny twinkling lights. The burlap ribbons twisted and curled through the evergreen pieces that were sprinkled with a light snowy dusting. Just as I noticed the centerpiece another woman spotted it at the exact same time. Our eyes quickly met as if we were in a race and running to be the first across the finish line.
Just as I went to grab the center piece, I was met by a saleswoman that looked like Mrs. Claus with white hair and a round face. Her wide smile was welcoming. She stepped right in front of me and said, “Can I help you with something.” “I politely said, no thank you, I’m just going to grab that centerpiece.” I just loved the rustic contemporary décor and thought it would bring life to my table.
She said, “Let me know if I can help you with anything.” I turned to thank her but just as I turned back the other woman snagged the centerpiece right from under my nose. She grinned as she walked away holding the treasured piece. I was defeated. As my shoulders slouched down, the saleswoman approached again. I explained how much I adored the things in her store, but I really wanted a one-of-a-kind centerpiece.
She said, “Oh, honey, everything I sell, is one of a kind.” My mom gave me a gentle nudge and said, “Celeste tell her exactly what you are looking for in a centerpiece.” I told the saleswoman I wanted a table that came to life, just as it had been created for each generation by my grandparents. I wanted something different and unique with a rustic contemporary charm.
She led my mom and I to a little room tucked in the corner of the store. The centerpiece she showed me was a similar box, but it was a bigger and had more twinkling lights and glitter. It was also adorned with a leather handle that was rugged and worn but still in perfect shape. “I exclaimed that’s the one!”
The woman chuckled and said, “I knew you would think it was perfect, but I have something else that will complete your holiday decor.” She pulled out a small box that held mistletoe. I said, “Mistletoe?” I laughed and said, “That was a tradition of my grandmas to hang mistletoe each year and you would sometimes catch my grandparents sneaking a quick kiss under it.”
She said, “This is magical mistletoe.” She had a funny smile on her round face as if she were revealing a secret. She said, “This magical mistletoe will make them come to life.” My mom and I both looked at each other and asked, “Who will come to life?” Again, she smiled without answering. We asked, “How much for the magical mistletoe.” She said, “How, can you put a price on magic and love?” Her voice was in a low whisper. She said, “It’s a gift from me to you, but you must follow these special instructions and hang it on the outside of your home not the inside.”
As my mom and I continued shopping I kept thinking about the comment the saleswoman made. I turned to my mom as we walked along lost in thought and said, “What do you think is magical about the mistletoe?” My mom said, “Oh, sweetie, the mistletoe was a family tradition as I’m sure it was a tradition in her family. Plus, she’s probably letting you know that you picked a centerpiece that would make the grandparents proud.”
So, as the Christmas Eve evening approached, I decorated the table with the rose accented China and white lace tablecloth that were passed onto me from my grandmothers. And I used my husband Anthony’s maternal grandmother’s Waterford crystal goblets and his paternal grandmother’s silver flatware.
As I quickly admired the table before our family came, I remembered the missing piece, the magical mistletoe. I hung it outside the door as I was instructed. As our families started to arrive, they marveled at the mistletoe and the collection of items that brought the table together representing both sets of grandparents.
As we all settled in ready to start our meal, the door bell rang. We all looked at each other in wonderment, and thought who could that be on Christmas Eve? As my husband Anthony and I both stood up to answer the door, we opened it to find both sets of our grandparents standing on the steps. We were stunned by their presence and I whispered to Anthony, “Pinch me, I think I am dreaming.”
My grandparents looked up, before they stepped in the house and said, in unison, “Celeste, you hung the mistletoe.” They gave each other a quick peck under it before they all entered the house. As we walked through the dining room with our grandparents in tow, our seated parents gasped at the site of their parents walking in. They looked as stunned as we did, but didn’t miss a beat.
They rose from their seats hugging and crying and embracing their parents. As we sat around the table we reminisced about the good times and the things we loved. I shared the story about the center piece, the saleswoman and the magical mistletoe. The grandparents all nodded their heads in unison and said, “It must be magic and love that brought us together again.”
As the night ended my husband Anthony and I walked our grandparents to the front door. They reminded us to look up to see the magical mistletoe that brought us all together. As we all gazed up, I remembered what the saleswoman said, “The magic will make them come to life.” As we looked back, they were all gone including the magical mistletoe.