Ready or not, Christmas is here! Santa flies tonight! And if it’s foggy, Rudolph leads the pack. Ask any preschooler, and I’m certain they can tell you all about it.
For me, the past two weeks have been full of new adventures, shopping, parties, meetings, fun, joy, sadness, and memories – especially memories.
When our children were little, we always had a birthday cake for Jesus for dessert Christmas Day, complete with singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. They insisted on it.
The day after Christmas I was in the stores buying clearance bargains for gifts for next Christmas. After all, there were eight children, so I knew I could convince one of them they really wanted whatever I bought by the next Christmas. Shopping that early allowed me to round up the money for their true heart’s desire in the last weeks preceding the big day.
Stocking stuffers were our salvation early Christmas morning. Each child had a red felt Christmas stocking that they had decorated with their own hands. They were a sight to behold. Right before we went to bed (about 3 a.m.) our last duty was to place each child’s stocking by their bedside.
When they woke up (usually about 3:15 a.m.) they had to inspect and enjoy their stocking before they woke us up. There was an orange or a banana along with something else healthy for their starving stomach and coloring books and new crayons to keep their fingers busy for awhile.
Daddy and Mommy always went downstairs first. That allowed us time to turn on the lights and get a cup of coffee before the chaos began. I can still see eight heads peeking around the stairway.
One year I stood in the middle of the party with a tape recorder to record comments for future generations. Unfortunately all we heard when we played it was static. I forgot to push the record button.
We had bird ornaments on the Christmas tree. They were made out of brightly colored feathers. Then one year someone put a musical ornament on the tree that sounded like birds singing. The next morning the floor was decorated with bright feathers, and the cats looked very satisfied.
The cats loved the Christmas tree. They could climb up and nestle on a branch without moving any lights or ornaments. They would just lay there and survey their domain. If they weren’t in the tree they were beneath it poking at the ornaments. Then we discovered the balls made of brightly colored satin thread. We put them on the bottom of the tree and had no more broken ornaments.
Do you remember the bottle brush trees? For families with children they were an improvement over the silver aluminum trees with attached color wheel.
The bottle brush jobs had limbs that looked like they were made of dark green bottle brushes. We could just put that one away after Christmas and avoid mopping up the kids’ tears when it was time to dispose of their friend the Christmas tree. The fake trees were more acceptable after we found pine air freshener.
One of my favorite memories of Christmas was the year our school used a play I had written for the school Christmas program. The name of the play was “Santa’s Reason for the Season”. It was about a feminist elf who thought Santa should let her help deliver gifts Christmas Eve.
There was even a scene in a homeless shelter that featured a rap song. I still get a little teary-eyed when I remember the finale when the kindergarten angels presented the Christ Child with a birthday cake that had a battery-operated window candle sticking out of the center of it, and the whole cast, grades kindergarten through eighth, sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.
For me, Christmas is definitely a season of memories. I have a million of good ones. I hope you form many more marvelous memories this year. And above all, I hope you remember the reason for the season is the birth of Jesus.