Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmases Past

My early childhood memories of Christmas consist of getting up early Christmas morning, eating a quick breakfast, rushing through opening of presents and then hitting the road to visit all of daddy's many relatives, all of whom held open houses on Christmas Day. That night we would drag home after sampling the final buffet and, finally, I got to play with my presents. This occurred every year until I got old enough and brave enough to protest. According to my mother, I finally stamped my little foot and demanded to stay home one Christmas. After that, we limited ourselves to only a couple of open houses on Christmas afternoon.

Many of daddy's patients sent me gifts, which added to the excitement. I suppose I was just such a cute, sweet (spoiled rotten) little angel that they simply couldn't resist showering me with presents at Christmas, even though they had never met me. In spite of the fact that my parents DID know me, they half-filled the living room with presents from Santa Claus.

After I discovered the harsh reality about Santa, the number of presents went into a steep decline.

By the time I had children of my own, I was exhibiting Grinch-like qualities. Kell and Jay brought back some of the magic of the season for me, and I was able to shower them with an array of gifts that would make Santa blush, if he were real.

Kelley professed to believe in Santa Claus until she was fourteen, even though Jay continually taunted her with the truth of the matter. I admit I perpetuated the fraud by hiding all their gifts in a closet in my bedroom. I had to stay up later and later each year, as they grew older, but I always waited until they were in bed to bring the presents out and put them under the tree. It was only when Kell was caught standing outside that closet, hands clasped tightly to keep them from flinging the doors open that she finally had to admit that Jay was right. After that, some of the magic went out of Christmas, but the fun remained.

Those were the days, my friends.


Mari Meehan said...

I still prefer to believe but then Bacchus never asks!

Karen said...

I don't get the parents who refuse to let their kids believe in Santa. They say that they can't "lie", but I think that is crazy talk.

It is really magical to see kids be kids.

Kay Dennison said...

The Dynamic Duo believed in Santa until a ratfink told Eric who, of course, told Kate. They did, however, pretty much keep up the charade. When they reached their teens, we opened presents after midnight mass at 1:00 am. I haven't spent Christmas with my children in over 10 years now and wonder if I ever will again. Sigh.

kenju said...

I found out by accident when I was 5 that he didn't exist and I was devastated. My kids quit believing at about age 8-9, I think.

Peggy said...

It is always the Christmas traditions that a family have that stick in the mind much more than any present. I still hold onto presents until the last child is in bed - even though he's so grown now at 15. I loved this blog entry!

Margie's Musings said...

We were the gritch like people who never perpetrated that myth. Our kids always knew the gifts came from us. We didn't buy them a lot of gifts but we always tried to give them their heart's desire at Christmas even if we had to do layaway at Oklahoma Tire and Supply.

Luckily, their heart's desire was never more then we could afford. Bikes, BB guns and the like.

Betty said...

Dogwalkmusings: Bacchus probably thinks you're Santa Claus!

Karen: I loved watching my kids as Christmas grew near. They really took to heart the bit about Santa making a list of folks who were naughty and those who were nice.

Kay: I do hope you will be able to celebrate Christmas with your children some day.

kenju: My next-door neighbor told me about Santa. Seemed as though he was always spoiling my fun.

peggy: You're right about past Christmas traditions. Sometimes, though, I think I'm taking too many trips down memory lane. lol

margie's musings: Well, at least they didn't suffer the trauma of finding out about Santa. To each his own, I say.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember when I discovered about the Santa thing, but I certainly remember the family traditions.

Woken for 6am mass, home to open toys etc then cooked breakfast.
Late morning - open house for friends of Daddy, copious amounts of drink consumed (by adults. Main Meal when visitors left. THEN all the children were sent to bed for a rest/sleep. We rejoined the adults around 6pm and were allowed to stay up until tomorrow (midnight)!

Kell said...

What do you mean "if he were real" ??!!!??

Dianne said...

jay taunted kell!?

not my jay! he would never ;)

I used to schlep all over on Christmas morning, not anymore!!

I love being home on Christmas

Cazzie!!! said...

Yes, Tomas knows, he is 11, but my other 3 children still believe. This year Tomas wants to help me to wrap some of the gifts, not hi of course! I hav accepted, so that he can join in the fun and watch his siblings open the gifts with joy.
I find that I stay up later each year also, and then I am usually the first to wake, waiting for them to wake to get their gifts! LOL

Betty said...

grannymar: I'll bet the children weren't the only ones needing a nap.

kell: Ask Jay.

dianne: yes, Jay. Hard to believe, isn't it?

cazzie: It's nice that he wants to help with the gifts.

Hughes ap Williams said...

IF Santa were real? I don't understand.

You might enjoy this post from last year:

Betty said...

Hughes ap Williams: I did enjoy your post "Santa Question", and, come to think of it, I have never been able to prove that Santa doesn't exist either.

Anonymous said...

So many memories and so little time! I still have a house to clean before my daughter, twins, and her partner arrive for Christmas dinner.

Have a wonderful Christmas1

Betty said...

Merry Christmas to you, too, Maria! Have a nice trip.

Darlene said...

The thing I loved about Santa was the admonition that he knew if 'you were naughty or nice' and the resulting good behavior of my children before Christmas.

I think my children knew there was no Santa before they stopped pretending he was real. Nonetheless, the sparkle in their eyes and the excitement was a joy to behold. I miss having children around at Christmas. That's what made the holiday so special.

Anonymous said...

Brothers can be such a pain...

When my kids started having doubts, I told them that he will come just as long as they believe. As far as I know, they still believe! (such good girls for indulging their mama like that!)

Now, if only the last one would get to bed so that I can put the gifts out and go to bed. :)

Merry Christmas Betty!

Golden To Silver Val said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope that the New Year brings you much happiness. Stay well.