Merry Christmas from Santa Toldjah

I hope everyone’s holiday weekend has started off on a good note. Like most people’s, mine has been hectic but it’s been festive and fun all the same.

This is without a doubt my favorite holiday of the year, for a couple of reasons: because it’s the time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and it’s also the time we get together with family and friends, sometimes reconnecting with them or reaffirming our love and affection for them.

As I have been preparing to host Christmas tomorrow in my small but beautiful little townhome, baking, decorating, cleaning, shopping, wrapping (and chasing runaway shopping carts in the grocery store parking lot!), I’ve had a chance to reflect on some Christmas holidays I had as a young girl. I think back on them now and smile, because it makes me remember how my parents always went out of their way to make sure my sisters and I had nice Christmases, even when money was tight. For my sisters and I, once we were old enough to understand the meaning of Christmas, we never complained when we only got a few gifts versus alot. There were years where Christmases were huge, and some that were small. The best ones, in my opinion, were the small ones. For some reason, I have just always remembered them as being the Christmas days that I’ve enjoyed the most. Probably because there was less emphasis put on gift giving, and more on family.

One Christmas I remember fondly was when I was around 7 or 8. I recall first learning to tie my shoes that December, and because of that I thought I was ‘hot to trot’ as I figured I was the only girl my age who knew how to tie her shoes ;;) As a little girl, before I went to bed on Christmas Eve I always made it a point to leave out cookies, along with an empty mug, and a note for Santa to tell him there was milk and eggnog in the fridge, in case he wanted any before he left the house after delivering our gifts. Mom only had to remind me once to write “thank you” at the end of my notes to Santa. Very, very early Christmas morning that year, my mom came into my room and urged me to wake up, and she was almost frantic about it, because she claimed that she’d just “seen” Santa at the tree dropping off gifts and he was getting ready to leave. I heard but did not see my dad calling for me to run into the living room. “Hurry!!” they were saying almost in unison. I quickly wiped the sleep out of my eyes, didn’t bother with putting on my bedroom slippers, and ran past the dining room, pausing only briefly to see that there were crumbs on the plate where the cookies left for Santa once were and noticing that the mug had been moved as though it had been used. I don’t think my feet touched the ground after that getting to the living room, because I wanted to see Santa.

Only I was too late. Santa was gone. But in his place, I saw what looked like soot dust coming out of the fireplace and what sounded like something going up the chimney. I missed Santa, and that year all I got to see of him was his dust. He was good to us that year, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see him.

If I remember correctly, that year or perhaps the next one, my mom and dad got my sisters a drum set. It was my older sister wanted to play the drums, but mom and dad presented it a gift to both my sisters – only it was their younger sister ST who ended up playing them the most- and loudly. I think that’s one of the few gifts mom and dad have ever regretted giving us ;)

Another Christmas I remember as a young girl was one where we were celebrating Christmas at my grandmother’s (mom’s mother) house. I stayed over with her the night before Christmas, and while she snoozed next to me, I couldn’t go to sleep as I was too busy looking out the window to see if I could spot Santa. I nudged gran a few times that evening, worrying that Santa wouldn’t come because it kept getting later and later and I hadn’t seen him. Finally, one time when I looked out the window, I could have sworn that I saw Santa’s sleigh out in the sky and he looked really far away. I nudged my gran again and, though she was half asleep she still had her wits about her and told me that Santa didn’t visit the houses of little girls and boys who stayed up all night waiting for him so I best get to sleep. I shut my eyes immediately. Sure enough, the next morning, Santa had visited me and my sisters. Gran was right! I went to sleep, and Santa stopped by her house! Several years later, I found out who Santa really was but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for Christmas one bit.

Oh, and in the entire history of ST family Christmases, there was only one of them where I peeked in mom and dad’s closet to see what they had gotten us. Mom, if you’re reading this, forgive me! I hope this doesn’t mean you won’t show up for Christmas lunch tomorrow :D

There are so many Christmases like that I remember fondly. There have only been a couple that were sad to me, but it wasn’t due to too few gifts or a bad meal. Back in the early 80s, I lost my beloved grandmother about three weeks before Christmas. She had been in the hospital for a month, and I figured she’d be coming home (she lived with us the last few years of her life) so I had gone out and purchase her two gifts: a beautiful silk scarf in a carmel color with a pretty design, and a matching umbrella. That Christmas was tough, but my mom really held us together that year. I marvelled at her strength (and still do). After all, she’d just lost her mother, but she kept her chin up for us so we wouldn’t be sadder than we already were. The other sad Christmas for me was last year, when my eldest sister and her husband lost their dog Ginger- on Christmas Eve. A month later, my other sister and bro in law would lose their cat Spike.

Speaking of Christmas Eve and pets, today is the 7th anniversary of when my sweet cat Muffie first became part of the family. She came to us as a stray in 1999, and has been a joy to take care of ever since. This is how she spent a lot of her one year anniversary during Christmas season 2000:

Muffie - Christmas 2000
Spoiled rotten

Can’t wait to see her tomorrow when I visit mom and dad’s in the late afternoon. I just can’t wait for tomorrow – period – when everyone comes over here for Christmas. It will be a time to create more memories that I can hold close to my heart forever. Thank you, God.

To all my readers, I hope you have a safe, fun, wonderful Christmas holiday, filled with warmth and comfort and good times that will be remembered and looked back on fondly for years to come.

I would also like to wish our men and women serving and their families a happy holiday season. I wrote a Thanksgiving message dedicated to them two years ago and am reposting it now because the message in it is timeless, I think.

“But they heard her exclaim, as she drove out of sight: ‘Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.'”
Merry Christmas from Santa Toldjah