Monday, December 11, 2006

More Christmas Memories

The excitement built from Thanksgiving on. Mom would not allow Christmas music before then. Dad’s birthday was November 23rd, (he passed away last January) and sometimes Thanksgiving came on that very day. When we lived in Seattle we spent Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa’s (Dad’s father) and when we came home from Thanksgiving weekend the Christmas boxes came out and the Christmas music came on. We had a December calendar where each day had a little door, and Mom let us take turns opening these doors.

The days seemed to crawl by. After we got out of school for the holidays, the evening got even more intense. We boys spent hours huddled around the Sears Christmas catalog, endlessly discussing the merits of various toys and what we thought our chances were of Santa bringing any of them to us. We tended to be on our best behavior before Christmas, trying to curry favor from Mom and Dad, the source of many of our gifts.

When we were young, Mom read “Twas the Night before Christmas” and we all believed in Santa Claus. He was like this unconditionally loving grandfather who knew us better than we knew ourselves. We even put out cookies and milk for him, and they were always gone in the morning! Mom and Dad stayed up late on Christmas Eve, arranging our “big” gifts in front of the tree. These weren’t wrapped, and the story was that Santa brought those on his sleigh. Sometimes they stayed up very late, putting presents together, stuffing our handmade Christmas stockings, and making sure everything was just so. When we peeked around the corner at 7:00 on Christmas morning, the tree was still lit and all these presents were spread out. It was amazing, really. They showed us so much love!

Several times during that month big boxes would arrive on our doorstep, filled with wrapped presents from grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We’d carefully pull out each gift, read the tag to see who it was for and who it was from and then arrange them all under the tree. I would spend hours gazing raptly at the tree and all those presents, wrapped in Christmas smells, and Christmas music, savoring the anticipation of Christmas morning.

No comments: