When I was a little kid Christmas was more than just exciting, it was downright enchanting. Mom would dress us up in our Sunday finest, usually pretty dresses, matching leotards and clumping ski-doo boots.
Our hair curled and our faces washed we’d make the 10 kilometer drive into town to church no matter what the road conditions.
The church would be beautifully decorated with trees and Poinsettias and a nativity scene set in the sacristy. Christmas Eve mass would always, ALWAYS, end in “O Come all Ye Faithful”.
Then, we’d make the long drive home where we’d change into our flannel nighties, say our prayers, and check to make sure our leotards were hung on the side of the armchair with care (we had no fireplace mantle).
Sometimes mom would make us hot cocoa in her fancy blue mugs and we’d watch the lights on the tree twinkle against the tinsel.
I don’t think I ever slept the whole night through because I was listening too hard for the clumping of reindeer hoofs on the roof. And, I admit, I was a tiny bit freaked at the thought of a strange old man breaking into the house.
Bright and early Christmas morning my sisters and I would run down the stairs, organize the presents into piles, then sit patiently for Mom and Dad to come down and watch us open our treasures.
We’d always get one present from Mom and Dad and one present from Santa. The year of the Barbie Camper was one of my favourite, second only the year of the plastic play kitchen.
Then we’d check the leotards where Santa would have left underwear, socks and mandarin oranges.
The day would be filled with Bing Crosby playing on Mom’s old record player, playing with new toys, eating cookies shaped like stars and bells. Weather permitting we’d take a ride on the Crazy Carpet down the hill Dad had made from plowing the driveway with the tractor.
And the day would end with the biggest feast on the planet.
I remember feeling every minute of the day.
I was very lucky.
Some years I wish for the simplicity of my childhood where sugar cookies and Christmas carols made for perfection. I
t was the simple joy of pure contentment.
I wonder where I can find that again?