Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/The Spirit of Christmas

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ISN'T the Christmas festival just simply wonderful?

For days beforehand I feel so uplifted—so, well, other-worldly—if you know what I mean.

Isn't it just dreadful that any material considerations have to spoil such a sacred time?

It does seem to me that somehow we might free ourselves of worldliness and greediness and just rise to the spiritual significance of the day. If only we could!

And what a blessing it would be to the poor, tired shop girls if we could!

Though, of course, they, the shop girls, I mean, must be upheld even in their weariest moments by the thought that they are helping on the beautiful impulse of giving!

When they reflect that every article they sell is to be a gift from one thoughtful and loving heart to another they must forget the mere fatigue of the flesh and just feel the stimulus, the inspiration, the vibration!

There are gifts, I admit, that haven't the divine spark of love to hallow them, but after all there aren't so many of that sort. Love one another is the spirit of Christmas—and it prevails, whatever the skeptics may say to the contrary. And though it's a pity there has to be a material side to Christmas at all, it's so comforting, so ennobling to realize that back of the material gifts is Brotherly Love.

It quite reassures one about the state of the world; it certainly isn't getting worse with Brotherly Love and the Spirit of Giving animating everybody.

Of course, Christmas giving is a problem sometimes. It is so embarrassing when somebody you'd forgotten entirely sends you a present.

I always buy several extra things just for that emergency. Then, when an unexpected gift arrives, I can rush off a return gift so promptly that nobody'd ever dream I hadn't meant to send it all along.

And I always buy things I'd like to have myself, so that if they aren't needed for unexpected people they're still not wasted.

With all my spirituality, I have a practical side, you see.

All well balanced natures have both the spiritual and the practical side. It's so essential, nowadays, to be well balanced, and it's a great relief to me to find I can be practical. It saves me a lot of trouble, too, especially about this problem of Christmas giving.

I know the value of material things, for instance. And I never waste money giving more expensive presents to my friends than I receive from them. That's one of the advantages of having a well balanced nature, a practical side.

And, anyway, the value of a gift is not in the cost of it. Quite cheap things, when they represent true thought and affection, are above rubies.

Mamma and Papa are going to get me a pearl necklace, just to circle the throat, but beautifully matched pearls. I wouldn't care for an ostentatiously long string of pearls anyway.

Poor, dear Papa says he really can't afford it—with times so hard, and those dear, pathetic Europeans on everybody's hands, you know—but Mamma made him understand how necessary beauty is to me, and he finally gave in.

Isn't it just wonderful how love rules us all at Christmas time?