from the outside, i have watched this annual christmas event since the time the girl was finally old enough to not believe. but this year, i jumped in and volunteered to help. santa's village, a mainstay of the holidays in our community, where adults and organizations band together to make a christmas memory for children. wide-eyed they come to watch elves making toys, to marvel at the holiday express zipping around the tracks, to sample mrs. claus's cookies, and to visit with the old gentleman himself, who calls each child by name. this year i played a small part in the magic, for only a few hours - but just being there helped to bring on the christmas spirit for which i've so been hoping.