Posted tagged ‘Santa Claus’

“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.”

December 17, 2017

It was freezing cold last night, down to 19˚, and it is freezing cold right now. Today’s high will be 24˚ though I think calling it high is a misnomer. I’m glad for the de-icer on the front steps as the two steps are dry and safe for both paws and feet. The day is pretty with a blue sky and sun but both are best seen through the window. I am staying warm and cozy right here.

I don’t have a list for today. My laundry got done yesterday, a miracle for me as it usually sits a while, the house is decorated, presents wrapped and the cards written. Maybe I’ll decide what to make for Christmas or maybe I’ll just sit in the living room with the tree lit and read a bit.

When I was a kid, each day closer to Christmas made me even more excited. I remember watching Santa Claus on TV every afternoon, and he’d do a countdown to Christmas Eve, his busiest day of the year. He’d read letters from kids, tell stories and show off new toys. I don’t even remember if I thought he was the real deal or not. I was never skeptical about Christmas. I believed everything.

I do love Christmas. My house is awash with decorations. The living room tree is as tall as it can be and still accommodate the star at the very top. Other trees, mostly wooden, are strewn around the house. The scrub pine in the dining room is lit every evening. The small wooden tree on the side table has white lights wrapped around it as does the driftwood tree in the bathroom. They all look so very lovely when lit. They make my house feel warm even on the coldest nights.

I seem to have run out of films of A Christmas Carol to watch. My number sits at six. Today I’ll watch another favorite of mine, The Bishop’s Wife. I know I’ve seen all these movies many times, but I still look forward to seeing them again. The Christmas season does that to me: it keeps the wonder alive.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

March 11, 2016

When I was a kid, I believed in magic and magical creatures. I also knew Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were real. That a bunny brought eggs didn’t seem at all strange. I never wondered how the Tooth Fairy carried all those coins and what she did with the teeth. I figured Santa stashed piles of toys all over so he could replenish his supply. A sleigh with eight tiny reindeer flying in the heavens made perfect sense. How else would Santa get around? I knew trolls needed to be duped or as a last resort avoided. The Three Billy Goats Gruff taught me that. Witches ate little children. I really didn’t believe the princess felt that pea under all those the mattresses. I loved the story Chicken Little. The rhythmic names of all the animals have stayed with me all these years. Henny Penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey and the villain of the piece, Foxy Loxy. That the fox ate all of the animals never bothered me. It was silly Henny Penny who did, “The sky is falling!” My mother read Chicken Little to me just about every night.

I don’t know when skepticism crept in followed by disbelief, when I knew Santa Claus and the rest weren’t real. I wasn’t devastated with the revelation. I had two little sisters, and I never told them. I didn’t want to spoil the joy and the magic.

Even now I still cling to magic. I’m awed by fireflies. I watch them blinking and flitting across the backyard. When the first star appears, the nursery rhyme immediately comes to mind, and I make my wish, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” I see creatures in clouds and the smile on the face of the man in the moon.

I don’t have to see something to know it’s there. I just have to keep believing. I figure a life without magic is dull indeed.

“You’ll wake up on Easter morning, And you’ll know that he was there, When you find those choc’late bunnies, That he’s hiding ev’rywhere. “

April 4, 2015

We had more rain this morning then the sun came out for a while then it disappeared behind the clouds and the sky got darker. The sun made an attempt to reappeared but in a poof was gone again but only for a bit. The sun is now brightly shining in all its glory. The sky is blue and the clouds are gone. The sun has won the day in a spectacular fashion. It is even warm outside. My heat hasn’t come on all morning. Today I’m doing Easter things. I have a few eggs I’m going to color and a couple of baskets to fill.

At Christmas time we had Santa Claus to keep us on the straight and narrow. We didn’t dare cross the line for fear of getting coal in our stockings. The days before Christmas always felt interminable. Christmas Eve was really three days long. Falling asleep on Christmas Eve took forever, but then we woke to Christmas morning, the best morning of the year.

Easter didn’t have the giddy anticipation we gave to Christmas. We had nothing to lose being bad because Easter didn’t have the watchful eyes of Santa Claus or the dire consequences of being bad. The Easter Bunny didn’t seem to care so my mother had no threats to hold over us. We fought like usual and got yelled at the same as we always did.

Easter egg hunts were one of the fun parts of Easter. I remember a giant egg hunt in the field below our houses. All the kids in the neighborhood took part. We carried little baskets to hold our eggs. I remember finding a few here and there and one golden egg, but I gave it no mind and kept looking. At the end of the hunt I found out it was the prize egg. Inside was a dollar bill. This was when a penny had value and a nickel or a dime was wealth. A dollar was a king’s ransom.

The night before Easter was for egg coloring. My mother hard-boiled them, put newspapers on the table and filled paper cups with colored water from packets of dye. We used spoons to put the eggs in the colors and we’d roll the eggs all around so they’d get darker. My mother would display them on the table during Easter dinner. The week after Easter we’d always get colored eggs in our lunch boxes.

My mother would lay out our new Easter clothes on Saturday night. I loved getting new shoes for Easter because usually I only got new ones when the old ones gave up the ghost. We took baths, it was after all Saturday night, watched a little TV, went to bed and fell asleep. In the morning the baskets were on the kitchen table or on our bureaus or even in the living room. We’d eat some chocolate as we’d look through our baskets. That was always our Easter morning breakfast.

We’d go to church where every kid was dressed in new Easter clothes. The colors were light like a spring morning. I swear every Easter was warm and lovely. In the afternoon, after dinner, we’d go to my grandparents’ house in the city. My million or so cousins were also there. My grandmother had chocolate rabbits for us all.

On the way home, I always fell asleep.

“Fall on your knees. Oh hear the angel voices. Oh night divine, oh night, when Christ was born.”

December 24, 2013

I’ve been watching Cozi TV, all in B&W. Yesterday it was Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion, a program from 1955. Cuffy went out on his own to find the caravan carrying the tree and his presents. Captain Gallant, Fuzzy and the men, all volunteers, went after him. He was, of course, found. His uncle, Captain Gallant, said Christmas was more than a tree and presents and then told Cuffy all about the first Christmas and how Joseph and Mary had ridden across the desert just as the legionnaires had. We saw Joseph pulling the donkey with Mary riding on it across dune hills. The three Wise Men were also riding camels across the sand. Today I saw Robin Hood save a boy’s goose from being Christmas dinner and the Lone Ranger and Tonto finding a boy’s father in time for him to go home for Christmas. Both were from 1955. Right now I’m joining Ozzie, Harriet, David and Ricky for Christmas in 1952. These are wonderfully innocent and fun to watch. I can imagine myself sitting in front of the TV, far too close for my mother’s comfort, and watching all these programs and getting excited for Christmas.

Christmas Eve was always the longest day for us. We had to last until bedtime then we could sleep away the night while Santa made his rounds. We’d beg to go to bed early, as early as after dinner, but my mother kept us up until our usual bedtimes. Even then we had a difficult time falling asleep. We’d talk down the hall from bedroom to bedroom until finally we’d drift away.

One Christmas Eve day my mother once sent me to the white store, called that to differentiate it from the red store a bit down the street. She wanted something as mundane as bread. I remember riding down the grass hill in front of our house and thinking my mother didn’t get it. How could she send me to do an errand on Christmas Eve? Magical days aren’t for errands.

A TV station from New Hampshire had Santa Clause on every night starting a few weeks before Christmas. He’d read a letter or two, tell some stories and sometimes read a book. On Christmas Eve, he’d talk about how the sleigh was being filled right that minute and that he’d soon be on his way. He’d take our leave with great ceremony and tell us he’d be by our houses later and we’d best be asleep. With a wave he was off on his rounds.

On Christmas Eve, we’d open our new pajamas and slippers. The slippers were sock slippers with leather soles. I still have a pair I got for Christmas a couple of years ago, and they keep my feet toasty warm. We’d leave out milk and cookies for Santa then hang our stockings from the oldest down to the youngest on the bannister then we’d drag ourselves up to bed hardly able to wait until morning. I don’t remember sugar plums in my dreams, but I have to think those were the best dreams.

“The whole point of the week is the weekend.”

May 25, 2013

Last night I again fell asleep to the sound of the rain, but it was far gentler than the torrential rain of the night before so I didn’t need to shut my window. The rain has left the day chilly and damp. More rain is expected later. My grass has grown to such a monumental height several snakes could be hiding in it.

I need to get out of the house. It has been two days of staying home and watching bad movies, really bad movies, all the way through to the end. The worst by far was Dino Wolf. The plot was simple: human DNA was mixed with a prehistoric dire wolf skeleton and resulted in a hybrid monster with a taste for human flesh. The monster was the best actor in the movie, and it had no lines, just a lot of snarling and grunting. I sort of recognized one of the human actors but couldn’t come up with his name. It was Gil Gerard. I’d fire my agent if I were Gil.

I have a high tolerance for bad movies. They make me laugh. My sister Moe shares the same fondness for B movies. Each Christmas we try to out-do each other in finding and gifting the worst movie. Last year I gave her The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, a favorite of mine, and the year before I gave her the Christmas movie Santa Claus made in 1959 in Mexico. Santa lives in outer space and is helped by Merlin. He goes to Earth and must defeat the devil who is bothering poor little Lupita. My sister has been out-done the last two years. I think nothing will ever be worse than Santa Claus. In the comment section I’ll leave the link to YouTube and the movie. I watched it all the way through when I bought it. I wanted to see if Santa would win!

The bridges are filled with on-coming cars this morning. I have no idea why. The weather is supposed to be bad today and tomorrow, but it seems the weekenders are not deterred. Next door, at the rental, there are two cars from New York. They come every year for this weekend and usually sit on the deck and party a bit, but they won’t this year. As for me, I’m staying off the main roads. They’ll be clogged with people looking for something to do. Gracie and I will meander on the side roads with no destination in mind. It’s the meandering we want.

“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.”

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, My Friends

No white Christmas here: it’s raining. I don’t mind though. It’s the day we celebrate, not the weather. My Christmas trees are lit and are bright with color. It took no time for the bubble lights to perk. I watched and waited. My friend and I met for Christmas breakfast, a tradition only three years old. It was at our usual Sunday spot, and this morning every booth was taken. The coffee was free, a Christmas gift from Tom and Nancy who own the diner. I bought bacon for Gracie.

Our gifts were always in the same place by the tree every Christmas. They were artfully displayed with a doll in the high chair, books front and center and games leaning so we could see them right away. We always got new games. The year of my brother’s bike had a different spin. The bike was in the kitchen, hidden so he’d be surprised. My father sent my brother for matches in he kitchen, and he got them without even seeing his bike. Finally my parents brought him to the kitchen and turned on the lights. I remember his bike had blinkers so he could signal his turns. My parents always acted surprised at what Santa had left.

In the afternoon, after Christmas dinner, we’d go to my grandparents’ house. My mother was one of eight children and all of them, but the two who still lived at home, brought their families there. Those two, an aunt and an uncle, were around my age, the aunt even younger than I. We hated leaving our presents at home, but we knew they’d be more when we got to East Boston to my grandparents’ house. Their tree was in the small room, and the room was filled with presents for all of us, for the grandchildren. My grandmother also had chocolates to hand out, Santas or reindeer. Spaghetti was always hot on the stove. It was one meal she could make enough of for all of us, the aunt, uncles and cousins.

We’d stay until early evening when my father would have us gather everything up, say goodbye and thank you to my grandparents then we’d grab our coats and head to the car. We always fell asleep on the way home from East Boston. Christmas was the most wonderful day.

“Christmas cookies without sprinkles are like raisins without wrinkles, and like sleigh bells without tinkles are Christmas cookies without sprinkles”

December 17, 2012

A rainy dark day again today, but it is a warm day which makes the rain more tolerable. I need to go out to do a few errands a bit later, but I have a short list. Yesterday I had no intention of doing much, but I did. It all started with a potholder. I pulled one out of the drawer and found it had been gnawed. I was grossed out by the idea of a rodent in my kitchen drawer so I pulled out everything, threw away the gnawed and washed the washable. I scrubbed the drawer. In it I found a cache of rice from a bag of rice I had foolishly left in a cabinet. That beastie had to have carried each kernel through two cabinets and up to that second drawer. A feat of sorts I suppose. The rice came from a long time back so I doubt the beastie is still around. My cat has not cabinet watched for a long while. Now I can boast the neatest of kitchen drawers.

It was always an event when my mother made her Christmas sugar cookies. She had silver cookie cutters made from heavy aluminum. I remember a Christmas tree, a bell, a reindeer, Santa carrying his sack and a star. My mother did all the making, all the rolling and all the baking. We got the best job, the decorating. When the cookies were ready for our artistic touches, my mother would put on the table bowls of different colored frosting and sprinkles. My mother let us decorate any way we wanted. The trees, of course, were always green, but we decorated them with sprinkles and colored jimmies (the kind you put on ice cream which I know some of you call sprinkles. Around here they were and are jimmies). The sprinkles looked like sugar and were green or red. I’d concentrate so hard trying to sprinkle the red to look like loops of tinsel on my tree then use the colored jimmies for lights. Santa, of course, had a red suit, a white beard and a white pom-pom on the end of his hat. My sisters’ cookies were always thick with frosting. They were the heaviest to lift. The finished cookies were put on racks until the frosting was dry, but we each got to pick one to eat. Every time, we picked one of our own.

I have the same cookies cutters. One was my mother’s and the rest I collected along the way as did my sister Moe. I put the cutters out in a basket every Christmas. They remind me of that messy kitchen table, the bowls of icing and how proud we all were of our beautifully decorated cookies.

“The only real treasure is in your head. Memories are better than diamonds and nobody can steal them from you”

December 2, 2012

When I let Gracie out, it felt warm, but the papers aren’t here yet so I haven’t been outside. For some reason I woke up at 6. I can’t even remember the last time I did that. That early was too much for Gracie. She is already back to sleep on the couch. The sky is lighter now, but it’s still grey. What a surprise!

One side of my cellar is filled with Christmas decorations. For a while I collected really ugly 50’s decorations, those ceramic pieces we all had as kids and plastic light up Santas with holes in the back for lights. I remember my mother had four ceramic Santa mugs. Each handle was a letter and all of the handles together spelled out Noel. I found a set just like that and was thrilled. It was like finding an old friend. I have Santa head salt and pepper shakers and several angels wearing red dresses. They’re holding ceramic candles. All of the angels are blondes. I have a whole village of cardboard houses, some with intact windows, some without. I have a Tom and Jerry serving set and a couple for egg nog. They too are from the 50’s. In an antique store the other day I saw similar pieces to ones from my collection. They were expensive. Those ugly decorations are now treasured antiques.

My tree is hung with memories. Many of my ornaments have stories attached. A few hung on our family tree every year. My mother gave each of us some of those ornaments a long while back, and I treasure them. Some ornaments are from different trips I’ve made, and I have a few from Ghana. When my friend Michele came to visit last June, she gave me some ornaments she’d had since we were in Ghana together. I can’t wait to hang them on the tree for the first time this year. They’ll be memories of Michelle and Kumasi and hot water. I know the last one seems strange, but I remember how amazed I was when I stayed with her and found out she had hot water straight out of the shower. I have ornaments my mother stitched for me. My favorite is a K with the three kings on it. One year I made name ornaments for my whole family out of blocks. I have the one I  made for my mother and I put it on my tree every year. She loved Christmas, and by putting it on the tree, I keep her in mine.

“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance – each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.”

December 23, 2011

It is by all accounts a dreary day, dark and rainy, but being so close to Christmas, it looks, to me anyway, to be bright and beautiful. The tree is lit, and the house is filled with the scent of pine. I’ll be baking most of the day, my orange cookies, my mother’s favorite, and one more kind yet to be determined. My mother used to hide some of the orange cookies so they wouldn’t disappear too quickly. I’ll share mine with my friend because they remind her of her mother’s orange cake. That’s what Christmas is, remembering Christmases past, making new memories and carrying traditions from one generation to another.

Today is the last day before school vacation. I remember my high school kids were almost giddy. Santa hats were a common sight in the halls, and the spontaneous outbreak of carols was a lunch time treat to hear. One year a junior boy stood on a table and sang a solo. It was beautiful. Age is never an impediment to the joys of the seasons.

My sister is buried deep in snow. We’re having rain again, but I’m okay with that. I’ll just dream of a white Christmas. That’s enough for me.

I used to love my Christmas stocking. It was always stuffed and filled to the very top. Reaching my hand in and pulling out one thing at a time was the best approach. That way emptying the stocking lasted a long time. My mother was the stocking stuffer of legend. When we were kids, nothing was wrapped, but when we were older, she wrapped every single thing. Our childhood stockings had crayons, coloring books, baby bottles and a stuffed animal hanging out of the top. The rest of the little gifts were always a surprise. When we were grown, my sisters and I knew they’d be a pair of earrings for each of us in our stockings, but that was all we knew would be there. The rest of the stuff, just like when we were kids, was always a wonderful surprise because my mother found the neatest, most original stuff for those stockings.

My nephew used to call today Christmas Eve Eve.

“Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age.”

December 22, 2011

55° on December 22nd just doesn’t seem right. When I went to get the papers, I stood a while outside and took in the morning. We have sun and blue skies for the first time in days, but it all seems wrong. Where’s the snow? I should be seeing my breath and be clad in wool from head to toe. I’m sure it sounds like complaining, and I really don’t want winter as I’m loving this temperature, but it’s Christmas time. It’s sleigh bells ringing and Frosty dancing. It’s even the first day of winter. Mother Nature is behind her time.

Every kid counted down to the big day, Christmas Eve. The lucky ones, like us, had advent calendars which let us know how many days were left without having to ask. I swear that’s why my mother started giving them to us. We just counted the unopened windows and knew how long. Later, when we were older, we did the math. I have to admit that still being in school until the 23rd helped. We were forced to be busy so the days went more quickly. Christmas Eve is the longest day of the year, not the summer solstice. Just ask any kid.

I don’t remember the specifics of most Christmas Eve days except night was a long time in coming. I bet we drove my mother crazy. It was never a day for us to play outside or wander. It was a close to home day. The TV was always on in case there was a Christmas show, just what we needed to heighten the excitement. We wondered what Santa would bring. Would he follow our list or be creative?

We always got a new game or two for Christmas. As long as I can remember, we were a family of game players. Learning to play cards started with war then we worked our way up to more complex games as we got older. My parents, figuring they had built-in partners, taught my brother and me whist. We also played all sorts of board games either sitting on the living room rug or at the kitchen table. Santa always left the games front and center under the tree leaning upright against other toys. They were often the first things we saw. I don’t remember asking for games on my list. They were Santa’s choice, but we never complained.

I still try to give a game at Christmas. It’s one of those traditions meant to be carried on year to year. The one change is we just can’t manage sitting on the rug to play. It’s too hard to get up.

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