Favorite Holiday Memory from my Childhood ~ CHBM Carnival #12
The oldest of three children, I grew up in a small town on the coast. Our two-story home was located along the marsh and was heated by an Earthstove with a pipe chimney approximately 12 inches in diameter. I have many fond memories of growing up in that home, but the one that stands out the most is that of Christmas Eve. Like most American families, I looked forward to Santa’s arrival. However, I soon realized that our family celebration was a little different.
As each day passed, I would sit near the stove. I couldn’t fathom how Santa could manage to squeeze through such a small chimney, regardless of how many cookies I might leave to entice him. Early on, my parents assured me that Santa would still be able to visit us, despite his large belly.
To make the holiday special for my brothers and I, my parents invited my grandparents and several aunts and uncles over for dinner on Christmas Eve. We would enjoy a Christmas dinner of finger foods and hors-de-vors with a few Norwegian specialties, most memorably Smoked Salmon, Lutefisk and Lefse. After dinner, we would convene around the Christmas tree and my Uncle Les would play the role of Santa Claus as he passed out the gifts.
What made my family different, I discovered, was that the “real Santa” arrived at our house early on the eve of Christmas, always as we were immersed in the pleasures of opening gifts. In addition, he didn’t slip down the chimney, as described in the popular Night Before Christmas tale, but his sleigh and eight tiny reindeer would land in our front yard. Santa would then walk up to our front door and knock. My brothers and I would jump up as quickly as possible and run to the door, Santa’s sleigh bells jingling as my grandfather slid his chair out of the way. Each year, we were too late to catch more than brief glimpse; however, he always left our special gifts on the porch with a tag that read, “With much love, Santa”.
Many years have now passed since then. Our family has grown and my brothers and I now have children of our own. My husband and I live in a modest home with a gas furnance. As the Christmas season approaches, it is my hope that I will be able to continue this tradition with my children.
Entered in the March Write-Away Contest at Scribbit. 7th Mar 2007