As my list of Christmases Past grows ever longer, I have to revisit my notes to keep my memories as fresh as that constantly watered fir in the front window.
I don’t actually remember reaching up to the branches of earlier trees as a toddler, but I know I did. Grabbing at glass ornaments. Pulling tinsel through my fingers. Staring at big, glowing bulbs on strings. We should do this every year.
Bundling up for church. Choirs singing. Worshippers wearing sheets and tending a pretend flock.
My first visit to Santa. Squirming on his lap in the store. Why is this man asking me questions? Crying. Me, not him – usually.
Parades marching by. Being held up to see the floats. Riding past Nativity scenes. Touring the neighborhood to look at everyone else’s lights.
Finding the right tree in the woods, sawing it down, dragging it home in snow.
Wreaths. Holly. Mistletoe. Poinsettias. Stockings hung. Our house a study in red and green.
Shopping trips to town. Pretty sidewalks, busy sidewalks. Stores filled with toys. Hey, are we just going to window-shop?
Scotch tape. Wrapping paper. Sword fights with the empty paper tubes. Knocking over lamps. Naughty list.
The entire family, fattened by winter coats and caps, squeezing into the sedan. Visiting Grandpa and Grandma. Egg nog. Uncles and aunts everywhere, having fun. Some a little too much fun.
More singing now. Joy to the World. Jingle Bells. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. Jingle Bell Rock. Away in a Manger. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Silent Night, Holy Night.
Snooping under the tree. Shaking gifts. Why is this package shaped like a football? Searching the house in case every room is loaded like this.
Images wherever I turn. A partridge in a pear tree. Nat King Cole. Chestnuts. Gene Autry. Rudolph. The Grinch. Scrooge. Frosty. Yes, Virginia. A little drummer boy. Miracles, in the manger and on 34th Street.
Luke 2. The greatest story ever told. Gold, myrrh and frankincense. Three kings of Orient. The star in the East. A four-pointed star on Christmas cards. Looks just like a cross. Hmmm, there must be a connection.
The school play. Parents in the audience. Cameras flashing. Wearing the sheet now. I’m a shepherd, but next year, who knows? Maybe a starring role.
Drawing names in class. Hope I don’t get a girl’s name. What do they like, anyway?
’Tis the season to eat. Chocolate-covered cherries. Fruitcake. Candy canes. Fruitcake. Hot chocolate. Fruitcake.
Vacation from school: not long enough. Snow: not enough of it. Christmas Eve: the longest night of the year.
I’m not sleepy. Let me wait up all night. Well, wake me up early, then. I don’t want to miss a thing.
Then, the big day comes and goes in a flash. Twelve days of Christmas? That’s not nearly enough.