December 8th: The decorations are up and both trees are trimmed. Yes, we have two trees:
This is my seasonal tree which stays up all year, currently holding my special ornaments. Those my dad brought me from his travels, the ones little hands made so many years ago, and decorations personal to me.
The other tree shown on the right, displays David’s Star Wars and Star Trek ornaments along with a collection of Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Scooby Doo, and other treasured ornaments given or collected over the years.
I love my trees because they bring back distinct Christmas memories. Growing up, the magic of Santa was always evident. I remember waking up Christmas morning to find my note to Santa gone, and only crumbs, a wrinkled napkin, and an empty milk glass on the table near the tree next to a handwritten note from Santa. He always thanked me for the treats for him and remembered to include special thanks from the reindeer for the carrot bits I’d left the night before. The rug revealed sooty boot prints leading from the fireplace to the tree and back. And under the tree were several parcels wrapped in brown paper, tied with twine, and postmarked “North Pole.” Remembering back, I realize it was the only time my dad didn’t get upset when the rug got dirty. Maybe Santa whispered in his ear and let him know it was okay to make a mess to create a special memory.
As I grew older, the magic continued with my younger siblings and kept going each Christmas morning for my own children complete with brown paper parcels tied with twine and a note of thanks from Santa and the reindeer. No matter how tough times were as a child, or an adult, there was still evidence of Santa each Christmas morning, even if it was just the note, crumbs, and a wrinkled napkin.
As an adult, I still believe in the magic of Santa and keeping the Spirit of Christmas alive. My father loved Christmas and since he left us in 2010, it has never been the same for me. But no matter what, we still wake up and find evidence that Santa visited. Stockings are magically filled, cookies and milk gone, and a nice thank you note appreciating the thoughtful snack for Santa and his reindeer. Each year I still look forward to finding sooty boot prints on the rug. After all a bit of soot is okay and I’ve heard it’s okay to make a mess to preserve a special memory.