Though I do not have emerging scenes of dancing sugar plums in my head when it comes to Christmas memories, or any such fantasies, I do have memories of multi colored seasons of Christmases past.
There was the Christmas at school when Santa came to visit all of us mountain kids. Imagine that! Of course, that was the one and only time. I thought it was pretty amazing that he chose to include us in his schedule. I guess we made the "good" list that year. And I know it was truly St. Nick, because I took great notice of the characteristics we all know give away the secret. Yelp…it was that fluffy, snow white beard and that belly that was like a bowl full of jelly. They were the real deal!! I guess the fact that he never visited us again tells you where we fell on the list thereafter….the naughty category. So I can tell you first hand, you better watch out!!!
While I don’t remember receiving many gifts over the years from Santa, I do remember the year of his last appearing at my house. My brother Ray and I were all excited about what we might find that Christmas morning. As we made a dash to discover our treasures, nothing greeted us but an empty chest and disappointment. Dad being the logical mountain man that he was had a great explanation….we no longer believed in Santa so Santa no longer landed on our roof top with a bag full of toys. We still don’’t know who told Dad we no longer believed in that jolly old man. I can’t imagine who would spread such horrible rumors especially that time of year. No one to this day has confessed. They definitely were on my naughty list that year and have so remained.
Fast forwarding to memories after I left home at 16: I do recall Santa coming back around for visits. I guess my children and grandchildren never got on that black list. I tend to think Santa just got soft in his old age and lightened up on children during those "developing" personality years. He must have been reading Dr. Spock’s books. Then, too, maybe he enjoyed hearing me quote "Twas The Night Before Christmas".
Then there was the year Santa tampered with my oldest son, Charles, who was very young at the time. Santa had the nerve to come to our church of all things and tell Charles that he would bring him an electric train for Christmas. I tried to explain to Charles that this gift was not possible, but he insisted that it was true because after all THE MAN himself spoke it with his own lips with the list in hand. How does a mother win with Santa? And, yes, Santa showed up but with NO electric train. And I know for a fact Charles was on the nice list that year. It just goes to show you that Santa is human after all. Either he needed to get a new list manager or it was the beginning of Alzheimers. I know some snotty little naughty kid got my son’s electric train that year. It makes you wonder about that list, doesn’t it? While I don’t think Charles ever had to have therapy over the misfortune, I know I have needed it over the years. And if you are in this family and have never heard this story before, you now KNOW the truth about Santa.
With all this in consideration, I decided it was best not to expose my daughter Ellen, the youngest in the family, to Santa. After all he was on "my" naughty list. (And all along you thought it was because she fell off the piano bench, Charles.)
Her dad was great at playing Santa. He almost had her convinced there was a Santa the year he left a Santa doll that played music under the Christmas tree. The doll itself was NOT the mystery but HOW it was playing music. For the longest time…and really even until this very day she was (is) not able to figure out how that Santa was singing when she arrived at the tree in the wee hours of the morning while the rest were all nestled in their beds.
Ellen then carried on this Christmas tradition with my granddaughter April. And besides April’s teacher told her Santa was really Satan with the letters just changed around (so it was not all my fault). Then I started getting a little soft as I seasoned along with age…and I thought it might be nice to bring Santa back into our lives. So I invited him over to our house for April to meet. He came a looonnnggg way at my request. And he was the real deal let me tell you…I know because I saw the white fluffy beard (well, it was turning a little grey by this time). He arrived right on time. And with one look, April’’s heart darted faster than she did to the back of the house, not to return until we promised Santa was no where to be found. I am telling you, he should have never fouled up and delivered that electric train to the wrong house.
Feeling bad ever since, Ellen has left warm milk and cookies with the help of her son Stephen for Santa every Christmas Eve. She thinks once he came and got them as she saw with her own eyes foot prints in snow coming from the chimney. And that has been since she’s lived in snowless Texas so you know something’s up with that!!! Besides someone has been eating those cookies and drinking the milk. FYI it appears Santa likes Oreos best. Then again Stephen does love Oreos. Hummm..
Now that the fourth generation of females arrived with Miss Ella this year, it will be interesting to see what her Christmas tradition will be one day.
I am not sure what April’s posture is with Santa since she last saw him at my house many years ago. And I do not know what her sons, Reid and Cole think of him. You’d have to ask her. I think I heard her say once one of the kids cried when they saw him or would not go near him. It’s evidently in our DNA.
We continue to stay on the nice list, this I know. And someone continues to deliver gifts to us every year. And I continue to quote "Twas The Night Before Christmas". I think after all, I really do believe. Besides I know what happens when rumor gets out that you don’’t. So my lips are sealed.
Really though, I have had many wonderful heart filled Christmas seasons. Those with my husband Everette while he was here on earth, and those with my children and their children and their children!! Who needs Santa when you have family? And besides I don’t think he ever made good on that electric train.
Seriously though, I am greeting you with this letter of some of my Christmas memoirs and trust that your heart will be filled with the warmth of the love of Christ this 2006 season.
Celebrating His Birth,
Mom, Grandma, GG, Pauline