I had considered postponing or even canceling this post in light of the great sadness that has occurred in Connecticut. The holidays are a time to celebrate life. So I see it fitting to post this in honor of the ones whose lives were so senselessly cut short.
Just after Thanksgiving I start with my Christmas decorations. Somewhere along the line I had the good sense to hire someone to help me with the outside lights. Especially the ones I put around the roofline of our home. So there I was blazing away while the other homes remained dark, no matter. Generally, I am the only one in my Court to decorate outside, then slowly others will begin to follow.
Why do I do it? That is another story called “Of This I Know“. For me, if I am able, in some small way, to add a little joy or lift someone spirits with my decorations then I have achieved my goal. So what is the holiday spirit? Aside from the religious aspect, to me, it is a time of the year that we give ourselves permission to have some fun, spread some joy and to lay all our hurts, worries and frustrations aside for a time. We are bombarded with all the songs, phrases and events that help us to stay in the spirit, even when it seems hard at times. It can be a stressful time if we let it, but I simply choose not to let that happen. Instead, I like to make new memories adding to what I already have.
So, here is my story.
I was 5 and counting down the days that Santa would arrive. Time for me had seemed to slow to a crawl. I had memories of Christmas’s past, but this Christmas all my senses and observations were fully intact. That is when I fell in love with all the trappings that accompany the holidays. My family and I had just come back from the for towns Christmas parade where Santa had played a big part. I even had the opportunity to see and talk to him. For a five year old, it was the best thing EVER.
Shortly after that my brother and I had spent a great deal of time constructing a letter to Santa outlining all our wishes. My mom helped us, making sure it was sent out to the right address (#1, North Pole, Top Of The World), and we even went to the post office to Santa’s special mail box to make sure it was sent out in time for him to read. When we came back from mailing our letters, we made Christmas cookies, fudge and some other wonderful confections. It was the happiest of times. All was very well with the world.
The days between then a Christmas Eve seemed an eternity to me. When the eve of Santa’s visit had finally arrived. I was too excited even to think about sleep and was bound and determined to stay up to see him come down the chimney with our presents.
My parents had come up with a solution to get my brother, and I to sleep and appease our determination. In the home where we lived, there was a small sun porch that was adjacent to the fireplace with very large picture windows facing out to our front yard. It offered the best opportunity for us to see Santa’s approach and to hear him come down the chimney. My Dad had set up a place for my brother, and I to lay down. My Mom had given us some hot cocoa and cookies and had read “Twas The Night Before Christmas”. Mom and dad tucked us into our makeshift beds. It had just started to snow, and the moon was out just still visible. It was magical.
After a short time, against all our efforts, my brother and I had fallen asleep. Somewhere in the middle of the night I was awakened by a sound. I ACTUALLY heard something on the roof. It SOUNDED like sleigh bells, boots on the roofs, foot falls and reindeer hooves. I was wide awake immediately and rushed out of my makeshift bed. I looked out the window, but it was snowing to hard for me to see anything. My little brother was following very close behind. When I rounded the corner from where we were sleeping I could see the lit tree and all the presents Santa had just delivered. My parent couldn’t help hearing us in the living room and made their way to us and to see what Santa had brought.
I will never know if what I heard was real or a dream. To me, it was very real indeed and something I have never forgotten. It was the most magical Christmas and one I still hold close to my heart.
Partly, because I had not understood that the driver of that feeling was internal not external. It took a long time before I finally got it, and now I hold on to it with all my heart. I have learned that the gift of that magic is something we give ourselves.
Now it’s your turn, what are some of your most cherished holiday memories?
Life’s journey continues…