Front row l-r Dutchess(dog) Jan Lisa Karen Back row l-r Jeff and Randy Christmas has always been my most favorite time of the year, but, not more so than when I was growing up. I enjoyed the excitement in the air while shopping downtown. I could just stand in front of a stores display window and gaze at the animation of the holiday figurines dancing around, or a train going through tunnels in another displayed window. There was never any rushing about while trying to get shopping done. People were actually merry and you would often hear a merry Christmas or a Christmas carol being sung by carolers. On Christmas Eve mom would be in the kitchen baking cookies for Santa and preparing a special entree’ to take to Grandma and Grandpas for the pre-holiday meal. Everyone would be dressed up in their best holiday attire.
After dinner was over and dishes washed and put away everyone would gather around to open a few presents followed by a few Christmas carols. Grandma who had taught herself to play the organ would take her seat and begin to play. When she did not know how to begin the first few notes of a particular carol she would ask one of us to sing a few notes. Before long she was playing the music while listening to the rest of us sing beautifully off key. It as a time to laugh more. My youngest brother was always pretty good at being silly while showing off for his many cousins. Christmas morning was always very memorable. Hurrying out of our beds we would find our designated spots. We were always very pleased that Santa Claus took enough time to put our names where we could see them. He made it a lot easier to find what he had left us. I can recall so many things that he brought me over the years. Chatty Cathy. She was beautiful. I was thrilled that he remembered. I must have pulled the string on her back a hundred or more times to hear her talk. There was also the Christmas when I sat on Santas’ lap telling him about the Easy Bake Oven. Imagine my disappointment when I did not get the oven. Mom explained to me that I was to little to operate such an extravagant gift. “Look!” Showing me the mixes and small baking dishes he brought me I still had a hard time accepting that he must have forgotten. “You can bake them in my big oven” she explained. The older I became I learned to ask for surprises. These surprises were just as wonderful as those gifts that I wanted.