A One In A Million Christmas

Growing up we didn’t get the chance to be with dad much during the holidays because he worked out of town so often. However, the Christmas of 1967 is one in which I will always remember, because it is one of the few in which dad was able to be with us.

On Christmas Eve 1967, dad took the family out to our favorite rural tree farm to select a Christmas tree. I was ten years old and my sister was only seven. We were very excited to be going on this journey. Mom dressed my sister and I in our little snowsuits making sure we had our hats and mittens on. We drove for what seemed like an hour, and when we arrived at the tree farm we trudged through snow so deep that we could hardly move. Sis and I loved it. We threw snowballs at each other and we’d fall back and make snow angels. Our cheeks turned bright pink from the cold and our breath hung in the air as if frozen in time.

We walked up one row of trees and down the other, admiring the selection, as Christmas music played over the loudspeaker. Dad let mom choose “just the right one,” then the attendant cleared the snow from the trunk and proceed to saw until the tree was freed from its perch. I remember clearly the smell of pine as the saw moved back forth, and of how the little pile of sawdust collected on the ground beneath. I remember saying a little prayer of thanks that this tree was giving its life for our enjoyment.

Dad paid the attendant and then tied the tree to the top of the car for the ride back home. We sang Christmas carols the whole way. Buying a Christmas tree was always a major event for us; it meant that Christmas had finally arrived.

When we got back home dad untied the tree and carried it up the stairs and into the house where he and mom set it in the tree stand and secured it so it stood straight. It looked beautiful standing in the corner of our living room before we had placed even one ornament on its limbs.

This Christmas, that I recall so warmly, is the only one I actually have a memory of my father being in attendance at. Dad worked out of town a lot so he wasn’t around often for special holidays. I am fortunate to have the memory of this particular one.

When the tree was firmly in it’s stand, mom pulled out the boxes of ornaments. Dad put the string of lights on as mom carefully unwrapped each glass ornament from the tissue she had so carefully wrapped it in the year before. I remember these ornaments well because they all seemed to have a character of their own. All of them were glass and sparkled with glitter. There was Santa ornaments and reindeer ornaments and ones that were star shaped, oval shaped, and round. All of them were special and unique to us.

The first ornament to go on the tree was the star at the top. Mom stood on a stool and carefully positioned it so it stood up straight. One by one my sister and I were handed an ornament and told to select a spot to hang it. I loved helping to decorate the tree. When all the ornaments were placed, mom would pull out the boxes of tinsel. Oh how I loved the sparkle of string tinsel! We all joined in placing it in little clusters on the tree. I remember how it moved and flowed with each movement we made near the tree.

When all was complete, dad plugged in the lights and mom turned out the lamps in the room. We stood back and admired our work of art. I remember how the tinsel reflected all the lights on the tree and how bright colors twinkled and seemed to explode off the walls and ceiling. We were all in awe of the beauty and it truly felt like magic was in the air. There was a special feeling of warmth and togetherness that only the Christmas season can bring. Someone began to sing Silent Night and the rest of us joined in as we all stood arm in arm.

Before we retired to bed mom made us some hot chocolate and allowed us to have a couple of her home made sugar cookies. As we sat at the table in the dining room enjoying our treat, we heard the down stairs door open to the upper flat we rented, and then a loud jingling of bells was heard along with a hearty HO-HO-HO! My sister and I looked at each other with wide eyes and in unison exclaimed, “Santa Clause!!”

Sure enough, Santa had come to pay us a special visit right at our own house on Christmas Eve. Mom and dad looked at sis and me with excitement on their faces as they opened the door to let Santa in. First one and then the other, sis and I took turn sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him our Christmas wishes. He asked us if we had been good little girls all year long and we professed to have been. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of candy canes for each of us. Waving goodbye and shaking his jingle bells, he retreated back down the stairs from which he had come and gave a final, “HO-HO-HO” as he disappeared out the door.

It’s hard to top a Christmas memory like that. As wonderful as some of the Christmases have been over the years, this one stands out in my memory as the warmest and most wonderful one.

Years later I learned that dad paid our local Santa Clause to come and visit us that year. It is a Christmas memory I will never forget, nor will I forget the love our father had in his heart for us.

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~ by msbee1 on November 30, 2009.

One Response to “A One In A Million Christmas”

  1. […] full post on Artistic Expressions Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: Christmas, […]

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