Christmas is right around the corner and I’ve been tallying up the list of gifts that I’d like to get for my husband and kids. I’ve got a system all worked out and I know how much I can spend and a pretty good idea of what I am going to get my favorite people.
As I try to figure out the way to make the season magical for my two little halflings, I find myself getting lost in my own favorite memories of Christmas as a little girl. As I think back, I am thankful for the whimsical moments that I shared with my family, like the one time my mom and dad convinced my sisters and I that Santa Clause was real.
I was 9, already skeptical to the world, and my younger sisters and I were up late with the adults on Christmas Eve. No one made mention of any of us being awake so late, so surely Santa had to be fake.
Suddenly aware of the time, my mother jumped up out of her seat and feigned panic as she announced to us that it was time to get for us to get into bed. Clapping her hands she rushed us along she scooted us down the hallway. Crystal, the youngest at that time, and two years old, started jumping up and down and clapping her hands as well. She was too little to understand what was going on but the excitement was contagious.
” HURRY…Santa is coming. You girls better hurry up and get in bed. Santa won’t come if you are all awake. ”
My sister Amanda and I scurried off into the room that we shared, shut off the light, pulled the covers up to our necks and squeezed our eyes shut-because as we all know, people squeeze their eyes shut when they are asleep. I relaxed my eyes to look more realistic and my sister Mandy, went the method acting route and rolled her eyes back into her head and lay there with her mouth open. Yes, I know, impressive.
The minutes passed by slowly, when suddenly I heard a thump outside of my window. A few moments later and I heard the jingling of bells. More certain than ever that I had to keep up the act, I turned on my side and buried my face in my pillow. Mandy, amazing actress that she was, kept up the ruse, and was very believable…well, except for her legs jiggling and shaking with excitement.
Suddenly concerned,, she whispered out of the corner of her mouth ” Where’s Stal?” Stal is what we called Crystal. After all of these years, I’m not really sure why. I think that it had something to do with the way that my Spanish speaking grandmother couldn’t pronounce her name, so Stal stuck.
“SHHHHHHhhhhh!!! Stop moving!”, I hissed at Mandy. She was going to ruin it for sure and there was going to be hell to pay if she did. Crystal was the least of my worries and I wasn’t going to let her ruin my chances of scoring some Christmas loot. Thankfully Mandy figured out what was good for her and immediately followed suit by channeling the ghost of Bela Lugosi and lay completely still with her arms pressed up against her sides and her legs rod straight.
We both lay there for what seemed like an hour, but as I look back I am sure that it was probably closer to 15 minutes. Both us lay in our beds, as still as we could manage with eyes opened just a crack as we listened to the sounds of the house. Then we both heard the jingle of the bells and the front door slam shut. A few minutes later, my mother opened up the bedroom door and announced,” Come look, Santa came and left your presents.” Crystal, came toddling behind her, giggling and smiling.
My sister and I sprang from our beds and ran into the living room. The presents were piled underneath the tree and as I went to inspect the cookies that I’d put out, I saw that all that was left was a few crumbs.
“Did you see him Mom, did you see Santa? Did Stal see him? Can I see him if I run outside. I wanna see”
Mandy was jumping up and down and already about to make her way to the front door when my father answered,” Only parents can see Santa, Chantilly.” Chantilly, or Chants, was what my dad called Mandy, after the song “Chantilly Lace”.
“Go and open up your presents.”
Mandy got straight to business and ripped through her gifts and I remember having to help Crystal, but looking back, as hard as I try to remember, I can’t think of what I got for Christmas that year. All I know is that for the next few weeks after that night, all I could think about was the thump that I heard outside my window and the jingling of sleigh bells.