Most Magical Christmas — October Memoir Challenge
This is my fourth post, for age 4, of the October Memoir and Backstory Challenge hosted by Jane Anne McLachlan. My previous posts: Baby Speed Eater, Two Tales, and Curls.
The Christmas when I was four was the most magical of my life. We celebrated at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandpa was proud of his new vibrating recliner and the silver Christmas tree with the rotating light that threw alternate colors across the shimmering branches.
The family gathering was small. Grandma and Grandpa had two children, my Aunt Mart and my dad. Aunt Mart and Uncle Bud had three children — Dee-Dee, Don, and Joe. Dee-Dee and Don were quite a bit older than me and my brother, Dale. Joe was a year or so younger than Dale.
It didn’t seem so odd that Grandpa left the house after dark when we had assembled for a visit in the living room. There were always cows to feed or other animal care chores happening at unusual hours, late at night or in the wee hours of the morning.
Shortly after Grandpa left, Dad said, “Do you hear that?” We listened — a tingling sound in the darkness out by the lane. He looked at me. “I think it’s sleigh bells.”
“Reindeer sleigh bells?” I wiggled off my Grandma’s scratchy brown sofa to get nearer to Dad who had pulled a chair from the dining room and sat close to the front door. “Santa’s reindeer?”
“Maybe,” he draped an arm around my shoulders while I stared at the front door as the jingling bells came closer. Dale and Joe approached as we heard the door of the enclosed porch scrape open.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” accompanied heavy footsteps. I squealed and clapped my hands in excitement as Santa Claus entered my grandparents’ living room. He dropped the large sack he carried on the floor and squatted down, opening his arms wide as three small children, me and my brother and my cousin Joe, barreled into them. “Merry Christmas! I heard there were some good boys and girls here!”
I have no memory of what Christmas present Santa pulled from that bag for me that night. I remember coveting my cousin Don’s present. He must have been in 8th grade headed for high school because he got a huge set of pens and pencils in all shapes, sizes, and colors–an early beginning to my love affair with office supplies. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to receive a present like that from Santa Claus.
Once pictures were taken and presents were distributed, Santa said he had to get on his way to other houses to take presents to other children. “Good night and Merry Christmas!” We heard sleigh bells drift away as his reindeer drew his sleigh toward his next stop.
A few minutes later, we heard Grandpa come in the back door, having completed his chores with the cows. Dale, Joe, and I rushed to the kitchen to cluster around him. “Grandpa, you missed Santa Claus! He came and he brought us presents and we heard his reindeer!”
Grandpa wrapped all three of us in a hug. “Really? Santa Claus was here? What did he bring?” We led him to the living room to show him our new treasures.
I’m sure all of you reading this have guessed who played Santa Claus that night. I consider it a measure of the magic that it was some twenty years later, several years after my Grandpa died, before I put all the pieces together to make that guess.
What a magical story! I’m envious. I only got a phone call from Santa once–my Uncle Jim, I was pretty sure, but I played along anyway, just in case I was wrong. I didn’t want to jeopardize the presents.
Lovely post, Joy.
Oh what fun! That must be a treasured memory!!
My husband used to play santa at the elementary school here and we have pictures of his daughter gazing at him with a puzzled look like ‘gee. Santa sure looks familiar’ lol!
That was a sweet story Joy! Knowing me, I would have refused to figure it out. I love to believe in fairies and goblins and ghosts and Santa.
I think some of that might have been going on, Veronica, until I reached an age where it was more magical to believe that my grandpa went to that effort for us than it was to believe that Santa visited.
What is it about office supplies? I would rather shop at Goodwill than Macy’s, rather a bookstore than a boutique, and an stationary shop over a jewelers. That’s my kind of bling.
I have a Christmas post planned for 1984…I hope I can capture some of the wonder and occassion that you have!! I leapt off the sofa with you at the sound of the bells!!
Grandparents are great, aren’t they?!
This was charming. You conveyed the excitement, suspense and wonder of childhood so well.
Great story and accompanying picture. Really took me back. I share your love of office supplies too!
Thank you Joy. I don’t really remember it much of course. I do remember the pieces of your story that endured a year or more longer, the recliner, the tree (so modern for it’s day and out of place with my memories of old things at that house) and the screen door into the porch scrapped the granite step.
Great Christmas memory and picture. I remember those trees.
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