Posted tagged ‘Santa’

“We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”

December 22, 2017

Just two days days until Santa starts his rounds. I’m figuring lots of elves are busy at the North Pole, probably no cocoa breaks. I was told Santa leaves filled toy bags all over the world as his sleigh can carry only so much. That makes perfect sense though I wondered if magic was involved so the bags were always hidden.

We didn’t have a fireplace. Our stockings were hung on the stair rail in the living room.  They were small red stockings with a white cuff. Each name was written on the cuff and the letters were covered in gold glitter. My sister Moe is the only one of us who has her stocking. I can’t imagine what happened to mine. I’d never throw away anything of Christmas. Anyway, back to no fireplace. My mother told us Santa would find a way, maybe the door or maybe the window. We had nothing to worry about: he’d come just as expected. She was right.

Around this time before Christmas, my mother put presents under the tree, ones from her and my father. My sister Moe was an expert at making holes indiscernible to any human eye. It didn’t matter if the present was for her or not. She just wanted to know what was in the wrapped paper. This peeking led to another skill developed over time. Moe can shake just about any box and tell you what’s inside. One Christmas, she and Rod, her husband, were headed to a Christmas party. Moe wanted something new to wear so the shaking of presents from my mother and father began. She found a new blouse then decided she needed to accessorize. She shook a few more boxes and found new earrings. Moe has given up the small holes, but she still shakes.

I put presents under my tree yesterday. They are from Moe and Rod. One is a book. Wrapping didn’t hide its feel, its shape. It was an easy guess; however, I will go a step further and guess the book is a new James Patterson.

I have lots to do today and tomorrow. I still need to do some baking, and I need to do the wash I couldn’t do the other day as I was out of laundry detergent. I thought that was wonderful but I gave in and bought some yesterday. I didn’t want to, but I did anyway.

Today is cloudy, dark. Rain is expected though most of the rest of the state will have snow. It is really warm, in the 40’s, though it will get cold tonight. The long range temperature is a snowy Christmas. I love that.

 

 

“Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I love Christmas!”

December 10, 2017

Winter wonderland skipped us. We got rain the whole day, heavy rain at times. In the late afternoon, when I let Gracie out and brought trash to the car at the same time, we both got soaked. She wasn’t thrilled. My sister got around 6 inches of snow. I watched the news and saw the snow in Texas, an unusual occurrence in San Antonio. I laughed out-loud when a kid did a snow angel. Obviously snow was new to him. He did the angel face down.

Yesterday was a day of doing little for me. I made four or five trips carrying stuff like the displaced by the tree living furniture upstairs, wrote out more cards and went through catalogs but mostly I just sat. All the hauling up and down stairs made me tired. Today I have more energy and a to-do list. Gracie and I are going to the dump, to the small grocery store for bread and such and Agway for cat and dog food. I will decorate my wreaths and put them outside, and I’ll bring up bins from the cellar with the tree lights and some decorations. If I have any energy left, I’ll at least put on the tree lights. Tonight I’ll make myself a nice dinner and have some egg nog and watch Hallmark.

When I was a kid, Santa Claus had power over me. If I did anything wrong or fought with my brother, my mother threatened to call Santa. That was enough to get us to stop. I remember trips to Jordan Marsh to visit Santa. We’d take the bus to Sullivan Square then the subway to the Jordan’s stop. In those days Jordan’s and Filene’s had entrances from the stores to the subway. They were destinations.

I love Boston at Christmas time. The city is filled with people, some shopping, some just enjoying the festivities. The trees in the Common are lit for the holiday. Frog Pond is open for skating or for just sitting and watching the skaters while drinking a cup of cocoa. The giant tree from Nova Scotia is covered in lights. Small push wagons around the common sell roasted chestnuts and hot popcorn. Garlands hang from stores and street lights. People just seem happier.

My town was always decorated for Christmas. Swags of evergreen were hung from one side of the main street to the other. The store windows had trees and wrapped gifts and Santas. Carolers sang every night. The aroma of sugar cookies and bread wafted from Hank’s Bakery and hung in the air. The fire station was outlined in lights, and Santa was climbing a ladder to the chimney. I loved going uptown at night, and I still remember singing in the square.

I get excited for Christmas even now. I love the lights, and I could eat a dozen sugar cookies. Christmas music plays in the car and around the house when I’m decorating or baking. I sing along, out of tune, but that doesn’t matter. It’s Christmas!

“Christmas Eve, and the tree blazed with lights.”

December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve is the second most popular day of the year. It is the longest day, not by the calendar but for every kid who can hardly wait for Santa. I remember wanting to go to bed around 5 or 6 figuring the night would pass far more quickly if I were sleeping, but the actual bedtime never really mattered. It took forever to fall asleep.

Today is rainy and warm, in the high 40’s. The sky is gray, but it isn’t a gray day as today has sort of a light of its own, the glow of Christmas Eve. The trees and all the Christmas lights in the house are lit. They are so beautiful.

I have some baking to do, but I wanted to finish here first. The TV is on, and I have to admit it isn’t Hallmark. It is the Syfy channel and The Abominable Snowman, the something out there, hardly festive fare.

My parents used to have a party on Christmas Eve. My father was never a fan until everyone came, and the party got going. He always had a great time. The guests were mostly relatives, my aunts and uncles. There was always singing, eating and drinking. The dining room table, groaning from all the food, was pushed to the wall. The kitchen counter served as the bar. The benches at the table in the kitchen were always filled. The living room was mostly empty. People gravitated to the kitchen and just stayed there. That’s always where the singing started. I can still see my dad standing beside the counter singing with wondrous enthusiasm.

My mother and I always cleaned up, but it was a special time for the two of us. We’d chat while cleaning, finish up, pour Irish coffees and sit in the living room. We’d put on a Christmas movie. We’d open one special present. We stayed up late. I loved those Christmas Eves.

Tonight my friends and I will put together our gingerbread houses. We won’t talk. We won’t socialize. We’ll be so intent upon the decorations that the houses will hold our full attention. That always makes me chuckle. We have this great time even without conversation.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas, my friends!

“Here’s what we know about Santa. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. I think he’s with the NSA.”

December 22, 2016

I woke up to another dreary day and a very dark sky screaming rain. The weatherman agrees. Snow is predicted in some parts of the state, but we will be too warm, in the 40’s. Yesterday was the Solstice, the longest night of the year. By next week, we will be gaining a minute and a half of light a day then two minutes in February. That sounds so hopeful.

Christmas vacation begins today around here. I remember this last day and how excited the kids were, high school kids wearing Santa hats and sucking on candy canes. They used to sing Christmas carols at lunch, spontaneous outbursts from one table then another then on and on. The halls between classes were filled with cheer, with kids wishing each other a Merry Christmas. At the end of the day, the school emptied quickly. The festivities had begun!

I have errands today then cookie baking. I was out a long time yesterday, but I couldn’t finish my list. One store was closed so I have to go back today. I also have to go to the candy store and the grocery store. I’ll get everything I need so I won’t have to go out again between now and Christmas. (I’m laughing here. That will never happen. I’ll find out I need something else. I always do.)

The excitement started to get palpable around this time when I was a kid. The countdown was at two until Christmas Eve and three until that glorious morning, Christmas day. Every afternoon we watched Santa Claus at his workshop. I remember the channel was WMUR from New Hampshire. Santa talked to us as if he were in the room. He discussed all of the work being done by the elves to get ready to fill the sleigh. I don’t remember what he looked like, whether he had great whiskers or paltry whiskers, or if his voice was jolly. I just remember sitting on the rug and watching Santa.

We didn’t have a fireplace, but I was never in doubt that Santa would find his way to the living room and the tree. He was magical so nothing could stand in his way. I figured he just used the door, probably the front door. That the dog didn’t bark was just more of the magic. I figured Duke wagged his stubby Boxer tail and gave Santa lots of kisses.

It is when the questions appear that believing in Santa gets shaky. The how does he do it in one night is a biggy. It shows a bit of skepticism. I am five and seven years older than my sisters. I told them nothing after I found out and I even became part of the Santa conspiracy and teased them about the good or the naughty list. It was wistful for me.

“Heap on the wood!-the wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.”

December 19, 2016

Jack Frost is nipping at my nose. It is cold, 32˚. A flurry of tiny flakes started when I was going to the store. They were wet on my windshield. By the time I got home, the flurry had stopped. The sky is a whitish gray. The sun is somewhere else. The day isn’t all that inviting.

Five days until Santa.

I remember going to Jordan Marsh to see Santa. The line was long, and the store was hot. I had to carry my bulky coat. I kept moving it from arm to arm. The Enchanted Village, windows all along the line’s route, kept our attention so we didn’t whine about waiting. We thought it amazing that all the characters moved. The shoemaking’s hammer went up and down. Children dressed in velvet finery decorated the tree in their living room. They held tinsel or an ornament and moved up and down. Some characters waved moving side to side. It was remarkable.

Where the village ended, we could see Santa just a bit beyond. Every kid pointed him out. He was at the end of the line and worth the long wait. Jordan’s Santa was always the best looking. He wore an embroidered suit like Father Christmas does. His boots were shiny, and his beard was to my eyes real. I told him what I wanted for Christmas then I smiled for the picture, an easy thing to do when you’re on Santa’s lap.

This morning I dropped cookies off for the library’s Christmas open house. It was a tray of Italian cookies from the bakery. I bought myself a cinnamon bun, a bit of Christmas indulgence.

Tonight I’ll wrap my friend’s presents so I can clear out the den. Tomorrow I’ll start baking. All the preliminaries are almost finished. Bring on Christmas!!

“Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.”

December 5, 2015

Today is sunny and warm and in the high 40’s. Tomorrow will be even warmer. Where is Old Man Winter? Is he biding his time only to sneak up and wallop us as he did last winter? I will not let my guard down. Should it snow, I’ll be ready.

Santa Claus and his peculiarities were cause for so many questions. My mother, however, always had the answers. We didn’t have a fireplace so we were worried as to how Santa would get in to leave all the toys. Santa is magical my mother explained, and he always finds a way inside. How does he transport so many toys in one bag? That one is easy. His bag never empties and whatever he needs he finds inside. The size or weird shapes of the toys never matter. How do reindeer fly? That too has a touch of magic about it. Santa uses something like fairy dust and it gives the reindeer the ability to fly. I never thought to ask where the dust came from, but I’m sure my mother had an answer ready just in case I did. How does he eat all those cookies and drink all that milk? All the ups and downs and ins and outs make him hungry so he takes just a wee bite and a small sip at every stop. The reindeer hungrily eat all the carrots.

When my nephew was nine, he was wavering about Santa. Did he exist or not? He asked his mother for a favor. When he had kids of his own, would she please tell him everything he needed to know about Santa and toys and Christmas. My sister assured him she would.

I don’t remember how old I was when I figured out Santa wasn’t real. It wasn’t all that traumatic, and I didn’t blame my parents for perpetuating a myth. My two younger sisters still believed so I never let on what I knew. That would have been selfish.

One of the best parts of Christmas is always the anticipation. Even knowing the truth didn’t diminish my excitement. I still feel that way.

“Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus!… There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.”

November 29, 2015

Well, I did get some names crossed off my list from shopping yesterday. I mostly went to shops in Dennis. They were filled with people. In one small shop the whole crowd walked in a single line counterclockwise as the aisles were so narrow. It was like being on a chain-gang. I figured we all should be singing the Sam Cooke song. Stopping to look made it even worse as it caused a traffic bottleneck. But despite the line, this hearty shopper managed to spend a lot of money there because their stuff was unique. I even found some wonderful stocking stuffers. I would have spent more time roaming except it was too crowded, and I could hear Gracie barking out the car window.

When I got home, I carried in my bags, checked my e-mail then I napped, a long nap. Shopping is fun but exhausting. Today I will do my laundry and call it an industrious day. I will watch the Patriots and hope all their injuries won’t have as giant an impact as we all fear.

The weather has been amazing. Yesterday was 58˚ degrees despite the rain. Today is 42˚, still too warm for the end of November. The sun is shining. It’s a pretty day.

On the first day of December we got to open door one on the Advent calendar. We all took turns otherwise we’d end up fighting about it: his turn, my turn, she did it yesterday sort of squabbling. That drove my mother crazy. Taking turns usually worked though we did argue on who would be first to open a door. I always said I should be as I was the oldest. My sister said she was the youngest so she should open it. Most times it ended up being me. For everything else we did wrong, my mother would pull out the Santa card. She’d remind us there were two lists and nobody wanted to be on the naughty one. Sometimes if we still didn’t stop misbehaving, she’d tell us we each had just lost one present. Santa sees everything. That subdued us for a while.

I once gave my sister a Santa report card to use with my nephew. He’d get gold stars or black stars in the columns underneath things like brushed his teeth, obeyed his parents or cleaned up his toys. My sister when forced to give him a black star would remind him Santa would see his report card because it was going to be left under the tree on Christmas Eve. Usually he’d start to cry and beg her not to it. He’d swear he was going to be good, and most times he was. That report card to Santa was the best motive ever to be nice.

“But mothers lie. It’s in the job description.”

October 27, 2014

My outside clothes are clean and have all their buttons and no holes. The colors match even down to my socks; however, my mother would be embarrassed by my inside clothes. If that accident she warned me about countless times ever happened, the holes in my socks and the torn elastic of my clean, but falling apart, underwear would have her humiliated. She and I were world’s apart in our underwear theory. I believe that what’s hidden is of little importance. She didn’t. I figure no one sees it anyway, and if that accident really happened, I suspect the doctor would be too intent on my injuries to criticize my hole ridden socks and underwear.

My mother was the font of all wisdom. We always believed her. I never swallowed gum. If I had, I’d probably still be digesting it as we were warned the gum stayed in our system for years. I imagined a giant pink ball of bubble gun sitting in the middle of my stomach growing bigger and more menacing. My mother told us our tongues turned black when we lied. I’d look in the mirror and see my regular pink tongue. Only mothers could see the black tongue was the reason. I swallowed that whole story. If she asked me something and I’d lied, I wouldn’t show her my tongue. Little did I know I was implicating myself. I never went outside with wet hair. I didn’t want pneumonia. I never ate watermelon seeds. I didn’t want a garden growing in my stomach. Besides, it would have had to fight for room with the bubble gum ball. I never went blind or even blurry eyed sitting close to the TV.

We never questioned my mother. We believed everything she told us. My entire generation waited an hour after lunch before we went back into the water. My mother had a direct line to the North Pole and Santa’s ear. Fright made us good before Christmas.

I have no idea what works on kids today. Google has put an end to watermelon gardens and giant balls of bubble gum.

“Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!”

December 10, 2013

It was the sleep of the dead. I might as well have been in a sarcophagus. I woke up at 8 as I had a meeting at 9, got a call making sure I knew of the meeting and ended up not going. I was just so tired I went back to bed and woke up at noon to a winter wonderland, well not quite a wonderland but it is snowing. The snowflakes are huge and wet so I doubt the storm has much staying power. I was going to get my tree today, but I’ll wait for a drier day. I will do some decorating later and tonight some wrapping. It’s time for Christmas at my house.

When I was around three Santa came to our house. I remember peeking out at him from my parent’s bedroom. He was sitting on the couch waiting for me. I walked over, sat on his lap and told him what I wanted for Christmas. My brother, a year younger than I, was too afraid and never left the bedroom. I have a picture of me with Santa from that day. My face is filled with wonder, and I am staring open-mouthed at Santa right there in my own house.

When my nephew was young, I sent my sister a Christmas report card for him. It had all sorts of good little boy and good little girl behaviors like puts toys away, eats vegetables, listens, goes to bed when asked-all the stuff kids usually balk at doing. There was a column next to each behavior where a gold or black star was placed. On Christmas Eve, the report card was to be left under the tree for Santa so he would know how good a boy my nephew had been. Ryan, my nephew, took that card to heart. If he was bad, my sister would put up a black star, and Ryan would cry and swear to be good if she’d just take the star off. She usually gave him an ultimatum he had to follow if he wanted the star removed. He usually did and the black star was no more. Santa always had such power for goodness during Christmas.

“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

November 30, 2013

When I went to get the papers, I saw the tips of the grass sparkling in the sun and my windshield covered in frost. It was a cold night. The sun, here earlier, is now hidden behind a cloud. I think it will do that all day long: in and out, in and out playing its own little game of peek-a-boo. It isn’t warm this morning. It’s 34˚.

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seemed the longest stretch of time. The first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving were just like any other weeks only colder. They gave no hint of what was coming. The first signs of Christmas slowly began to appear. A few houses had lights, and the stores uptown put their Christmas decorations in the windows. Then the fire station was outlined in lights and Santa was climbing the chimney. The lampposts were decorated up and down the street, and the stage for the carolers was placed right on Main Street in the square. Just seeing all those decorations used to get me excited for Christmas, and the closer it got, the more excited I’d get.

My parents would finally buy the tree. It aways went in the corner where the TV usually was. The tree had to sit there for a while so the branches could fall. Those trees of my childhood were never all that full. There were empty spaces, but that made it easier for small hands to decorate the tree without mishaps. My father did the lights first. He wasn’t a patient man, and those lights drove him crazy. He’d check the sets one bulb at a time for the bulb that was out. If two were out, lighting that set was an impossibility until my father replaced every bulb. He’d then check the ones he took out and used the good bulbs for replacements. My father had no artistic sense. He’d just put those lights on willy-nilly. It always sort of horrified my mother who would then move the lights around until they looked symmetrical about the tree. She’d next drape the silver garlands on the branches. Then it was time to decorate. My mother put the big, beautiful bulbs on the top branches. We weren’t allowed to touch those. I have one of them my mother gave me, and I always put it on a top branch and think of my mother when I do. We’d pick an ornament out of the box and it was always filled with memories. We’d put it wherever we wanted or my mother would suggest a bare spot needing an ornament.

I loved decorating the christmas tree. Every night after that, I’d lie on the floor for a while and look up at the lights through the tree. They always looked magical to me.