Thursday, December 23, 2004

My Favourite Christmas Memory

I wrote this last year for A PHOTOJUNKIE CHRISTMAS 2003. I have been so busy (left all Christmas stuff until the last moment - and have also had events every night this week, so yes I am being a little lazy). But I think it is worth sharing here again. And I am too tired for anything else right now...

Christmas for me is all about that magic you feel in your heart before you get old enough to know better. I still feel it, but I rarely admit to it in order to avoid the skeptical stares from judgmental grown ups. But yeah, Christmas and me go a long way back. In the midst of a troubled childhood, my most treasured memories settle in around Christmas, Santa and that glimmer of Magic. Little miracles can go a long way.

I was a pretty smart kid, and the Christmas that I was four years old I thought I had it all figured out. Mom and Dad were actually Santa, and when I went to bed (early, under pain of Santa not coming) they put the presents under the tree, expecting me to believe they were placed there by Santa Claus. So I concocted a plan to reveal this vile adult plan for what it was: I was going to get up after my parents went to bed and check under the tree.

I barely ever slept, so I don't remember it being hard to wait up. My parents went to bed and I waited until they were finally snoring (I remember they both sounded like bears when they snored) and ventured slowly out into the darkness. Checked baby brother, still sleeping (I didn't want to get caught out of bed if he were to wake everyone up), and double checked parents room to ensure they were actually sleeping. I crept down the stairs, slowly. I remember debating with myself what I might do if I did run into this Santa, cause everything I had ever been told was that he wouldn't come if there were kids awake in the house. I decided to be quicker.

Into the living room I bolted, it was lit only by the lights from the tree. I immediatley noticed there were no presents under that tree. Not even one. I went to the fireplace, where the embers had almost all died out, and checked each stocking... empty. I looked out the window. It was dark. There were no cars on a normally busy road. It was very late. I looked behind the couch for presents, in the hall closet and in the kitchen. Where could they be, I wondered... I went back to bed, perplexed slightly, but intrigued.

I slept a while, and woke up when I heard my baby brother making some manner of complaint. He wasn't loud enough to wake anyone else and eventually he went back to sleep. I snuck into my parents room to carefully inspect each adult as sleeping in the bed. Yep, still snoring. I snuck out of the room and down into the livingroom once more. The sight that beheld my eyes I will remember for all times.

The tree was filled with presents. There were even little presents in the branches! I crept forward, holding my breath, and reached out to touch them, wondering at the packages that would be for me (despite my previous doubting of the Santa Claus). I spun around to make sure I wasn't being watched, and my attention was drawn to my stocking - which was also full. I ran over to it and grabbed it down from the fireplace and cradled it in my arms. I knew I was allowed to open my stocking gifts as soon as I got up no matter when, but I sat down first to survey the room.

Everything seemed perfect. Santa's milk was gone, the empty glass sat beside a plate that sported a few crumbs left behind from the cookies I had placed there earlier. I inspected closer - there was a ring of milk under the glass that was still fresh. I looked out of the window and wonder began to fill me. I looked into the skies and wondered if it was possible... but doubt nagged at the edge of my brain and I realized that "Santa" always left a gift at the end of the bed and I hadn't seen anything there when I had woken up. I ran up the stairs, still clutching my stocking, sure that I had caught them in the act - and turned on the light as I burst into my room.

There on my bed was one of the biggest wrapped boxes I had ever seen. Almost too big for me to stretch out fully on my bed - how could I possibly have missed that? Holding my breath, I backed out of my room slowly, into the hallway where I could listen to the measured breathing and snoring coming from my parents room. Yep, still asleep. My ears strained for the slightest noise anywhere in the house. Nothing.

It slowly dawned upon me... Santa MUST be real. While I was downstairs peeking under the tree with excitement, he left this present here on my bed, even knowing that I wasn't in it. He must have been in the house the same time I was awake! And I didn't hear a thing! Not only was Santa real, he was magic too!

As I sat on my bed that morning opening each gift I knew that in trying to prove that Mom and Dad were tricking me into believing in Santa that I had proven to myself that Santa was real. I was filled with a warmth that would last me many Christmas's, and even to this day I know that Santa and Christmas is more then what we banter around in the commercial, corporate sense. And I love seeing that mirrored in the eyes of my own children!

And Santa, I still believe in you!

1 comment:

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