16. What Makes Christmas Magical Christmas is a special time of the year for the joy and intangible magic that fills the season. It comes through in the delightful decorations, glorious get-togethers with family and friends and the sheer feeling of joy one gets from giving and receiving gifts. Although the commercialization of Christmas is often decried, shopping is an important and central activity to some of the intangible magic of Christmas. It is at the malls or downtown stores that some of the favorite sights, sounds and scents of Christmas can be experienced. The decorations at Malls and retail establishments are usually very fanciful and eye-catching, especially to children, with the many colorful and twinkling lights. It's also a wonder for both adults and children alike to look at the numerous tinsels, baubles and figurines such as fairies, angels and little babies that adorn the main Christmas tree in the center of shopping malls and others in department stores. These trees are usually extremely well embellished with decorations that are arranged in a very professional way that most shoppers can't replicate in their own homes. It's therefore a delight for them to stare at such trees in wonder and amazement. Along with the wide variety of decorations in retail establishments, there also is the sound of music playing, bells ringing, the laughter and wishes of Merry Christmas from shoppers that also create a special atmosphere and add to the magic of Christmas. Even the sound of cash registers in the background adds something to the special feeling shoppers have at Christmas time. And of course there's always a Santa Claus that children can meet and tell what they want for Christmas, and also have their picture taken. Sometimes Santa Claus may distribute Christmas gifts to children, telling them that because they have been very, very good they are getting an extra special early Christmas present. The ability to delight children by telling them stories about Santa Claus, as well as making them see and talk to the jolly old fellow, puts a lot of magic and excitement into Christmas. Once the tradition is started, or from the first time that children have been told the story, it becomes something that they look forward to every year during the Christmas season. There's also the sound of music from choirs or school groups who often give open performances singing Christmas carols and songs in malls and downtown areas of towns. Families and others who are out and about will pause to listen or to sing along with these groups. Shopping is undoubtedly an enjoyable activity for most people during Christmas, but merrier and more memorable times are enjoyed when time is spent with family, friends and colleagues during the season. Before Christmas Day arrives, there usually are parties at home and at work, an evening out with friends and other occasions to get together and share the spirit of Christmas. The presence of special Christmas music and people dressed in holiday attire provide a different atmosphere and contribute to the magical feeling of the season. Another thing that is different at Christmas is the scent from a fresh Christmas tree, of gingerbread and other cookies baking and other food preparations that are specially done at Christmas time. Most people who select a real Christmas tree instead of an artificial one for their homes do so because of the wonderful scent it provides. For many people, that scent from a Christmas tree is what puts Christmas into everything else. Another popular scent at Christmas comes from the popular Christmas song 'Chestnuts Roasting Over an Open Fire.' The actual roasting of chestnuts by families during the Christmas season may be a rare occurrence these days but it is occasionally done in some downtown areas and in bakeries and confectioneries that make fresh products everyday. All these events, activities, happenings, sights, sounds and scents of Christmas and the holidays create special and unforgettable memories. And who can deny that a pleasant memory is always something that is truly magical.
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