A Sense of Wonder – A Holiday Lesson

The fortune in my fortune cookie today said better late than never so here is a post that I meant to share much earlier in December. Better late than never!

This holiday season, I keep going back to a memory from my childhood (I actually shared it last year around now too).

As a kid growing up in Germany/Switzerland the big excitement was on December 6th when St. Nicholas came to visit. We would put our shoes outside the door the night before and in the morning when we awoke magically the shoe, boot or if you were lucky bag was full of small treats and candies.

I must have been 9 or 10. We were living in a small 2 bedroom apartment across from the Rhein river (tough life I know). It’s hard to imagine my parents supporting the 2/3 of us kids at the time on a student visa in a foreign country. I’m sure things were tight but as kids we were oblivious to the logistics. Gifts were always smaller tokens. We didn’t seem to mind as we were always showered with love from so many folks around.  By 9/10 the magic of the man in red and white had also fizzled. It may have been the packages from Santa that arrived from Canada a month early or that he had a completely different look across the ocean (think more Yorkdale fashion Santa than bowl full of jelly).

I think it was all of the above that made this one December 6th so special. 

Like years past we put out our boots in front of the door expecting a few trinkets. You can imagine our surprise as we opened the door to find our shoes overflowing and a bag full of treats. It was just an overwhelming sense of WONDERthe excitement, the unknown, the gratitude. I was chatting with my mom yesterday and to this day we still don’t know who the friendly neighbour. Someone took the time out of their busy holiday season to share a little joy and wonder with us.

Flash Forward:

I was sitting beside a friend in a computer lab, trying to help her get on to Scratch online. A huge smile grew across her face as she smirked, looked around and pulled out a single key from her pocket. Now she was definitely off task and I probably should have told her to put it away but I couldn’t bear to stop her excitement. She had earned a key to the front door at home and I’m guessing she was told to keep it a secret from the sneaky grab. I could see that same sense of WONDER in her eyes as I had experienced. It seemed like breaking the rules for the last 3 minutes was completely worth while.

The Take Away:

It’s funny to notice those small moments all around once you are aware from the toddler and his wide arms describing a car his mom says he doesn’t own to the waves on the lake being whipped up from the blowing winds. At first I thought maybe I needed to create more of those experiences of wonder not a bad lesson really, it seemed noble and all. As time passed though I realized more than anything I needed that sense of wonder – a place where you don’t need answers, there are only questions, curiosities and bright eyed excitement. It has become a daily reminder as I walk past my St. Nick bag each morning.

Wisdom begins in Wonder.


Hope your season is filled with wonder! Would love to hear your stories.


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