After Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Friday, and whatever other marketing-generated-pseudo-sales day retailers could devise, I got to thinking about things that had made past holidays special. No surprise, they weren’t the kind of things you’d find wrapped in paper under a tree, but times when a feeling of wonder captured my heart, and filled me with a sense of hope and joy that - I like to believe- is what the holiday season is really about. Here are some of my favorite “wonder-filled” moments of Christmas Past:
The moment I saw the pink training wheeled bicycle I got from Santa when I was five. I know I just said that what makes me happy isn’t found wrapped under a tree, and this was true in this instance as well. While I was happy enough to just get the bike, the fact that it was the EXACT shade of pink I loved so much made me believe that Santa existed in all his magical I-know-what-your-heart-wants kind of way. Believing someone exists who knows your heart’s desires and grants your wishes is magical, and that was the real gift for me.
One evening, about a week or so before Christmas, I was unpacking groceries, stressing about all that needed to be done in preparation for the holidays, when the doorbell rang. A friend of mine, who is a local police officer, stood in the doorway. I saw flashing lights and immediately thought the worst, when he stepped aside and there on my front lawn was a crowd of children, holding little flashlights, who began singing Christmas carols. My neighbor’s 5 year old son, who has Down’s Syndrome, came rushing over to see what was going on. With a huge grin on his face, little Chris ran to me and threw himself into my arms. I stood on my front steps, in the glow of Christmas lights, holding Chris who was beaming with joy listening to the carolers Officer Bob had arranged as a surprise. It was simply a perfect Christmas moment and one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received.
The day after Christmas I was walking my dog in the park. It had snowed and the ground was covered with nearly a foot of the white stuff. The sky was laden with heavy, grey clouds that threatened to unleash another winter storm any moment. Suddenly a small break in the thick clouds allowed a ray of sunlight to hit one of the pine trees that was encased in ice. The tree looked exactly like someone dipped it in silver glitter- like a kitschy ornament you’d find in your attic. It was remarkable that something in nature could really look like this, but it did. The tree was surreal in its beauty and literally stopped me in my tracks. I remember thinking it was as if this simple park scene had fashioned itself into a Christmas card. The whole scene lasted less than a minute, which made it feel that much more of a special surprise gift of nature.
What was one of your most memorable holiday moments?
Article by LYDIA GNAU
Illustrations by NESSA GUILLET
Nessa Guillet graduated from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her artwork is inspired by French vintage poster designs, Australian aboriginal art, the colors of nature, flower gardens, Japanese prints as well as dreams from her childhood growing up in France. She likes to play with the idea of what is hidden or unseen at first glance. At first the images may look to only have one meaning until you look closer and see the hidden story. Her medium is gouache and lead pencil on coarse cold pressed watercolor paper. At her desk, small brush in hand, stippling away for hours paying close attention to complementary colors, shapes, textures and repetition of pattern. While creating the pieces she relies on her intuition more than anything else. She has been published in magazines, has designed stamp art, logos, book covers as well as mug designs. As a child, Waldorf Schools influenced her love for storytelling, both in the written word as well as imagery. Nessa currently works and lives in Boston, MA.
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Nessa Guillet on Etsy