Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas!!

On Christmas Eve my children all used to gather together in one bedroom and sleep together. They stayed up late, laughing and giggling, and just generally getting excited for Christmas the next day. Then in the morning, they stomped around upstairs to wake their parents up nice and early. This tradition was repeated year after year, with minor changes. When they got older, they started setting an alarm clock to be certain to get up early. I snuck in the room and turned it off, but they were very clever children. They set more than one alarm clock, and I never quite found them all.

Another important part of this tradition was the ringing of the bell. See, after the children had been banished to their sleepover, Santa Claus knew that all were tucked in for the night, and so he (or possibly she) came and delivered presents. Then he tromped past their bedroom door with a bell and rang it wildly proclaiming, "Ho, Ho, Ho!! Merry Christmas!!" to the (not so) sleepy occupants within. Even after my girls grew beyond the believing stage, good ol' Santa still tromped past their door with that bell. They did begin to note that Santa's voice had an unusually high pitch, and Santa had to try to go bass to correct that anomaly.

There was the year that my baby was the only remaining believer, and she was scared spitless of that jolly fat man in his red suit. After Santa stomped around merrily declaring his season's greetings, he stomped away, opened the deck door, said goodbye, and disappeared into the night. Conveniently enough, I was close on hand, and I opened the door to ask if they had heard that Santa was there. As the door opened, my poor little girl was scrambling as fast as her little arms and legs could carry her into the arms of her oldest sister. She had the most petrified expression I think I've ever seen. Aw, the memories.

Well, that tradition has carried through the years without fail. As they got older, the sleeping arrangements changed. Married kids brought their spouses and everyone began the night together, waiting for the sound of Santa's jolly voice. Then the married kids would clear out, the others would vow to stay, and then one by one they would slink off to more comfortable arrangements (their own beds).

Last week we had our mini Christmas while everyone could actually be together. We went through all of our regular Christmas traditions and held our own little mini-Christmas a week and a half early. We had the most wonderful time. It was delightful to have my sweet year-old granddaughter around, ripping at paper with her childlike awe. Then she lovingly and adoringly laid her head on the things she loved best. Fabulous memories.

Which brings us to last night, Christmas Eve 2010. Santa laid out the presents, but the child in residence hadn't gone to bed yet. In fact, the child's boyfriend was still hanging out. They were busy having a midnight snack. So Santa forgot all about the bell ringing tradition and trotted off to bed. Not twenty minutes into this long winter nap, a very strange thing happened. The ringing of the bell!!!! accompanied by a truly male voice saying, "Ho, Ho, Ho!! Merry Christmas!!" I was like a little girl. I began to giggle, and in my head I saw visions of Santa Claus. I could see him tromping down my hall, proclaiming his season's greetings. It was truly a magical moment, a moment of child-like glee. I bounced from my bed and into the hallway, but alas Santa had made off into the winter night already. My daughter and her boyfriend were all that remained in the hallway, and they rushed toward me: "Did you hear? Did you hear? Santa was here!!"

It was always so much fun for me to do the tromping and the ringing and the proclaiming, but this year, I found out how absolutely much fun, how absolutely magical it is to be on the inside receiving the magic.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!


Anonymous said...

Such a fun tradition! I am hoping to start some new ones for our family coming this next Christmas Season in 2011. Love to read up on all you are doing!

Katie (Smith)

Kristen said...

:) This warms my heart. I still remember her terrified face! lol! I'm glad that Santa visited you this year :)