Three Holiday Wonders

Moments of unexpected cheer are what the holidays are made of, writes assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

Posted in , Dec 22, 2014

A wooden Advent calendar. Photo by ErickN, Shutterstock.

Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

Did you have a Christmas Advent calendar when you were younger? I remember mine well.

From December 1st to the 24th, every night before bed my brother and I, filled with a sense of wonder, would open the little box for that day.

A wooden Advent calendar. Photo by ErickN, Shutterstock.Inside was a slip of paper with a piece of the Christmas story, which my mom read out loud, along with an equally wonderful miniature bar of chocolate.

I don’t have a treat-filled Advent calendar this December, but I have uncovered wondrous Mysterious Moments in the days leading up to Christmas.

I’ve marked off the days on my calendar that have made me stop and marvel at life’s unpredictable gifts, the stuff holidays are made of. Here are three examples…

Thursday, 12/4
One thing my friend Amanda and I have in common is our keen sense of nostalgia. For the second year in a row, I invited her to our Guideposts holiday party.

We planned to walk together from her midtown Manhattan office. Along the way, though, we detoured through heavy pedestrian traffic and found ourselves passing by the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza.

“Wait a second,” Amanda said, grabbing her phone. “Do you remember the last time we were here? Guess what showed up in my Facebook newsfeed today!”

She pulled up a picture from our high school days: The two of us standing side by side right in front of the tree in Rockefeller Plaza, posted on December 4, 2007–exactly 7 years earlier.

Saturday, 12/13
With visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I invited my brother Mark to see The Nutcracker with me in Queens.

Mark doesn’t visit the city often, so I wanted to make sure he had a good time–I’m a born planner. I scoped out a dinner place for afterwards.

Mark arrived at my apartment at 1 p.m.–earlier than I’d expected. The show wasn’t till 6. What were we going to do until then? We drove to the studio absurdly early and parked on a winding side street.

Then Mark spotted something...a sign for an independently-run library I’d never heard of, called Mellow Pages, exactly the kind of place both of us love.

We walked into the little square room, its walls lined with bookshelves. A crowd of people was gathered: An author was giving a reading that afternoon!

We stayed for the whole event, one of the highlights of our day. Just good timing, or did someone up there make plans for us?

Wednesday, 12/16
Last year for Christmas, associate editor Diana gave me a thoughtful gift: tea from her favorite shop, Harney & Sons. The tin had 20 perfectly-wrapped, silky sachets of crisp green tea.

Somehow, that tea lasted me all year. I finally used the last sachet last week. It sounds silly, but I was sad to see the tin empty.

All throughout 2014, at moments when I needed a solid cup of tea for inspiration, I’d reach for Diana’s gift. (I told you I’m nostalgic!)

That same morning, I ran into my fellow editor Danielle Lyle in the hallway. “Where were you?” she asked. “I’ve been looking for you since yesterday. Wait right here.” She went to her desk and came back with a present–a silky sachet of tea from Harney & Sons. How did she know?

What holidays wonders have you had this season? Tell us on Facebook!

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