Do you believe in magic?

When you are little it is easy to believe in magic. Magic explains everything: how airplanes fly, why lights flicker, how the monster gets under your bed. When you are little, money grows on trees, thunder is giants playing the drums on the clouds, and princesses travel in pumpkin carriages.

However, as you get older it becomes easier and easier to see magic dying out before your eyes. No one abandons magic purposefully; over time reality simply replaces fantasy.

AP Physics teaches you the real reason airplanes fly, biology teaches you the science behind thunderstorms, and the price of prom tickets teaches you the value of money.

Little by little fairy godmothers and superheroes are replaced by Facebook and Instagram, and the world of magic fades away.

However, as I drove home from work the other night, I spotted the first Christmas lights of the holiday season twinkling out from beneath the night’s blanket of darkness, and, as soon as they caught my eye, a little spark of excitement shot through my body.

Despite how tired I was and despite the mountain of homework that awaited me, for a moment I was a little kid again, seized by a different sort of magic, the magic of the holiday season.

From the minute Starbucks releases its red holiday cups on the first of November to when the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, a sort of spirit is in the air.

Difficult to define, this spirit is more easily described as it reveals itself in the childish excitement that I feel when I see the reflection of Christmas trees in house windows, in the smiles that light up the faces of every adult that walks into Scoops and sees the holiday decorations, and on the person of every highschooler who wears a Christmas sweater on the day before break.

My friends and I always make fun of each other for our childish love for the holiday season. From debates over when we can truly start listening to holiday music to the momentous decision of which wrapping paper we should use to decorate our lockers, we embrace the holiday season with (what sometimes seems like a tad overzealous) enthusiasm.

Even though we are all almost off to college, we all still look forward to holiday traditions with the same anticipation that we did when we were little four-year-olds running around in red and green footy-pajamas.

My favorite day of the year is still the day my family travels to Litchfield to cut down our Christmas tree, and I (and my stomach) still dream about gingerbread men and white icing for days leading up to the annual baking fest at my grandma’s house.

My sisters and I still sit on the couch every Christmas Eve as my dad reads The Night Before Christmas, and we still hang our stockings in the same order so that Santa knows whose is whose.

Sometimes I wonder if I will reach an age when the holiday season simply isn’t as exciting. However, then I drive home from work and see the first Christmas lights of the season, and I realize that during this time of year we are all little kids again, all believers in magic.

AP Physics may teach you how airplanes fly, but magic never truly dies out; magic is still everywhere, even if it takes on a different form. So, this month, as college decisions come out in a few weeks and the future fast approaches, all we can do is embrace the holiday season, and believe in a little magic.

Casey Chase is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.