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Name: Linda

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Monday, November 06, 2006
A Christmas Memory
It was a picture-perfect Christmas Eve. The snow had begun falling late in the afternoon, and the world outside our windows was blanketed in white. The tree, decorated earlier in the week, looked beautiful despite the slight tilt to the right. Our stockings were hung, and Santa’s snack awaited his arrival. But something was missing that year.
I was eight years old, a little girl with a huge imagination. My little sister, Marilyn, was three and a half. While my parents very diligently instilled in us the real meaning of Christmas, it was the stories of Santa that made my young spirit soar. I loved everything about those stories and could recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” when I was two years old. However, that year I had to face the facts about Santa. I was feeling sad and a little too grown up.
It was because of those feelings that I was determined to make this Christmas special for my little sister. I wanted her to experience the magic of Christmas. Together we pored over the Christmas catalogue from Montgomery Ward. We spent hours carefully deciding what we most wanted Santa to bring. Then we sent our letters off to the North Pole.
Mom began baking Christmas cookies right after Thanksgiving. We watched, helping whenever she had little jobs we could do. She deftly shaped and decorated dozens of cookies. Tin after tin was filled with delicious treats and stored carefully in the basement.
That year we made our own decorations. We cut out stencils and covered the windows with colorful snowflakes. Mom put out the ornaments that had become familiar over the years. I loved the little Santa figure with his cottony white beard and one leg flung over the little cardboard chimney.
The whole family helped decorate the tree. Dad went up into the attic and brought down the box full of decorations. The most breathtaking were the little candles filled with a liquid that bubbled when it was heated up. By now we were so excited it was catching. Our dog Shep knocked over the tree in his exuberance. He was banished to the kitchen while Dad righted the tree. It looked a bit disheveled and slightly off center, but it was still lovely.
The Sunday before Christmas the girls group I belonged to at church presented their annual Christmas program. I was one of the youngest ones and proudly marched into the church sanctuary at the end of the line. As we stood around the darkened room with our lighted candles singing “Silent Night”, I began to understand the true meaning of Christmas. I felt a different sort of excitement. It was a quiet joy.
The last few days before Christmas seemed like an eternity. We counted down the days until at last it was Christmas Eve. We were overjoyed when we saw the snow begin to fall. I told Marilyn that Santa would be so pleased. It would be easier for him to make his rounds now. We kept running to the window to make sure it was still coming down.
After dinner we made the final preparations for Santa’s arrival, setting out the milk and cookies and hanging our stockings. Then it was time for Marilyn to go to sleep. We sat together on her little bed as Dad read the Christmas story from Luke and the familiar stories about Santa. When he was finished, Marilyn snuggled under the covers, and we tiptoed out.
Shortly before my bedtime, we heard a soft knock on the front door. While Mom went to answer it, Dad walked quietly to the little bedroom Marilyn and I shared and gently lifted her out of bed. He came into the living room as Mom was opening the door. I will never forget the look of wonder on Marilyn’s face when Santa stepped into the living room. I think perhaps my eyes got a little bigger too. He was dressed in his beautiful red suit and covered with snow. He spoke quietly to us. I cannot remember what he said. I know that neither of us could say a word.
With a gentle smile he turned and walked out the door. We all hurried to the window to watch him go. The soft light from the street lamp illuminated him. He walked slowly through the falling snow, bent slightly under the weight of the sack he carried on his back. It was a magical moment seeming to embody all the things that are so special about Christmas: the wonder in the eyes of a little child, the giving of something precious to someone else. It was a Christmas I will never forget.

I wanted to take part in Sandra's Christmas Tradition blog, but I just ran out of time today. This is something I wrote years ago and submitted to a magazine. It was rejected (sigh), but I thought my friends would be a bit more forgiving of my feeble attempt at writing.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 3:21 PM
  10 comments



10 Comments:
At 5:26 PM, Blogger Morning Glory said...

Oh, Linda, that was so precious!! I can't imagine a magazine rejecting such a sweet story. That seems more like the telling of a dream than an actual happening. I love it!

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Linda,
What a beautiful story! I could just feel the childlike wonderment you and your sister must have felt.
Such a touching post...
:)

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger PEA said...

I so enjoyed reading this...it brought back all the excitement I had as a child waiting for Santa to come. Such a heartwarming memory you shared with us today...may every child experience this and may our inner child also never lose that feeling, the magic of Christmas! xox

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger erin said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your little story. It kinda made me want to be a kid again!! Thanks!!

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I love it! So well done. Whoever did that for you was really special.

I also love the one the day before about turning 60. I'll be there before we know it!

 
At 4:36 AM, Blogger Linda said...

LC :) -

I LOVED this post. I have had similar experiences but have never written them for my grandkids to read someday! I remember a "Silent Night" moment like yours, too, when it really starts to sink in . . . Anyway, thanks for the memories.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Kathleen Marie said...

This is wonderful. What a precious memory! What a stupid magazine to reject so sweet a story! I love Christmas and it is magical and mysterious in so many different ways. I always love the photo of Santa kneeling beside Jesus in the manger.

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Pamela said...

Oh my goodness Linda, this was so endearing! Christmas through the eyes of a child. From the charming way you wrote about the dog spilling over the tree to you beginning to realize the true meaning of Christmas.

So sweet and loving was your desire the keep the wonderment and joy of Santa alive, so it would be special for your sister...that is so heartwarming. Your family is so blessed to have you and I am so glad we are friends.

:) That magazine lost out big time! Are they even still in business! lol

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post was lovely. I think you should resubmit it. What idiot turned it down. I thought this memory was well written and I imagined the scene in my mind. What a great Christmas you all had.

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Chappyswife said...

That is a wonderful story!!! I loved it. I am so glad that you decided to share it with us. Have you sent it into "Country" magazine?

 

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