A Whole Month of Christmas

I like Christmas. 

But I don’t know that I’ll ever love Christmas as much as I did when I was a kid. 

It was the anticipation of the big day – that moment of walking into the living room and seeing what Santa Claus had left under the tree.

That's me in the middle with my cousins, Andy and D.Wayne, in front of the Christmas tree at their house in 1968. I'm holding Mrs. Beasley, the doll made famous by the TV sit-com, Family Affair. Remember the twins, Buffy and Jody, who came to live with their Uncle Bill? Mrs. Beasley was Buffy's doll on the show, so of course every little girl had to have one - even me!

Sleeping with my cousins in twin beds pushed together, listening to my mother telling stories to get us to sleep so we wouldn’t hear our dads and my aunt putting toys together in the living room. 

It was there in that bed that my cousin Andy and I first reasoned that reindeer couldn’t fly and therefore Santa Claus couldn’t be real.  But we decided to go along with it, so as not to spoil it for the younger ones. 

The kindness of eight year olds. 

Really it was more than Christmas morning – it was all the stuff that led up to that day – the little things you did in preparation.  Year after year.  All the traditions and huge little things you did with people who made it special.

Bringing in all the musty boxes of decorations from the garage.

Decorating the tree. 

Wrapping presents in front of the fireplace.

Eating baked fudge and fruitcake cookies and drinking spiced tea. 

Watching Rudolph on tv.

Learning Christmas carols in music class and making ornaments in art.

And even though it was just a pill bottle covered in blue glitter with a bent paper clip for a hanger, it hung on my parents’ Christmas tree for years. 

On trees that we’d picked out at the Boys’ Club lot downtown.

And on the way home we’d drive by the Burns’ Christmas display, when it was still at their house on the corner in Country Club.

It took a whole month to do all those things. 

So I think I’ll devote the whole month to writing about the huge little things that make this time of year special. 

I’d love to hear about yours, too.

 

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Greg A. Pittman says:

    Such memories. My mom told me that when I was 6 or 7 I walked into our kitchen and asked her straight out, “Mom, is there REALLY a Santa Claus?” She replied with the question, “We’ll what do you think?” (Always challenging me to think for myself)

    I told her that it didn’t seem possible that one guy could do all of that stuff in one night and so my answer was no. She knelt down on the floor next to me and confirmed that I was correct, NO SANTA!

    Then she said I fell to the ground as if I had the very breath knocked out of my soul and cried out loud, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TELL ME!” She said I was a wreck for the rest of the month. lol

    Sally and I grew up in the same “BIG” city of Wichita Falls, TX. So we share a lot of the same memories of that time. Going to the Boys Club to pick out our tree, swinging by Parker Sqaure where right on the corner of Kemp and Kell stood a huge christmas tree and at the base of that tree was a little tiny house only big enough for a fat Santa and one child. And every year without fail we’d stop and tell him our fondest Christmas wishes.

    Then we go by the Burns home over in county club. We’d park the car and walk through all the fantasy of lights. I still remember my dad putting me on his shoulders so I could catch the bubbles spouting out of the mechanical robot in their front yard. Back then we didn’t have a pot to pee in or a window to toss it out of……….But the were and always will be some of the happiest memories of my life.

    Thanks Sally for ALWAYS reminding me of what I should be thankful for. xoxoxoxoxox

  2. Laura says:

    Going to the tree farm to pick out the perfect one. Bonus points if there was snow.
    My mom spreading newspaper over the entire kitchen table and filling it with all kinds of just-baked cookies.
    Turning off the lamps and lighting candles in the evening.
    Rearranging the pieces of the little folk-art Nativity set (especially he discovery that the lamb fit perfectly on top of one of the wise men’s heads).
    The year two mice must have come in with the tree, and all the mouse sightings before they were finally captured (one inside a drawer in Mom’s sewing chest).
    A traditional Christmas Eve meal of grilled burgers, baked potatoes and homemade onion rings.
    The three years in a row that someone and I gave each other the same toothbrush in our stockings.

  3. dan gary says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU! LOVE YOU!

    1. sallygary says:

      Love you, too – looking forward to making some more Christmas moments with you!

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