When I was a little girl life rolled along at a dull steady hum. A big time for me was getting to go to the grocery store with a parent, or making mud pies in the backyard. But Christmastime that was a different story, it was a special and magical time for me. It was filled with lights, the aroma of fresh cut evergreens and activity like parties with ladies in sparkling sequined gowns and gentlemen in handsome tailored suits. And the food . . . oh my! Appetizers were the centerpiece all our holiday festivities. My favorites were the smoked oysters. Yes, I know I was a strange child. But like any red-blooded American child, the highlight of the season was getting to visit Santa at Macy’s to deliver my wish list. I was not a greedy child, I usually just told him that I would love anything he brought me, but it was always good to touch bases with him to make sure he didn’t forget me altogether. On Christmas Eve we always had a big party. It was one of the best days of the year for me because I got to stay up extra late and my father always came. My parents were divorced and I never gave up on the “Parent Trap” syndrome. After the party, I would get in my jammies, and put out Santa’s cookies and milk, then I would go to bed to wait. At least my parents thought I was in bed, but as soon as the lights were out, I leaped into action and took my place for “the wait.” My room had a glass door that led to the patio and you could see into our living room from certain angles. I remember kneeling by my door peeking into the living room waiting for Santa to arrive. What a thrill when I saw a tiny light dancing around the Christmas tree! “Santa!” I strained as hard as I could to catch a glimpse of the jolly fat-guy, but he always alluded me. But knowing he’d been there allowed me to hop back in bed for a peaceful night’s sleep knowing my gifts would be waiting under the tree for me in the morning.
I remember when I discovered that Santa was not real, I was absolutely crushed! When we had children of our own, we elected to let Santa be a part of our celebration on a more honest level. We wanted our children to know that Jesus was the reason for Christmas. We felt if we lied to them about the jolly fat guy that they might think we were lying about Jesus as well. Our children never felt slighted and they always knew they could trust our word.
What are some of your favorite Christmas rituals?