I remember the chill that would go through my bones. That feeling of anticipation on Christmas Eve, just before my mother had placed all of the presents under the tree. My brother and I used to make a list of things to do on Christmas Eve so the time would move along a lot faster. It was the silliest thing ever. 10am: play pong, Noon: play street hockey, 2pm: listen to records. To this day, I am not really sure if this goofy list made the time move faster but we gave it our best shot!
The tradition in our family was to go and look for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve while my mother got all the presents ready. We would drive all over Champlin, Minnesota which back in the 70's, took all of ten minutes. When the outside house lights were on, that was the official signal my mother was ready. If they were off, she needed more time and we would drive away again. My Dad would have the Christmas music cranked in the Van and we would all sing along. It was like a scene out of "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase. The anticipation was killing us.
Finally, the moment had arrived. When we drove by our house and the lights were on, my heart started to pound. Nothing was more important than getting into that house as fast as humanly possible! During the cold Decembers of the past, we had layers of clothing on. I remember it taking way too long to get my darn moon boots off! Yes, moon boots! I remember kicking them off and watching them sail through the air. Moon boots could fly at the speed of light if you kicked them off with a purpose. Gloves, hats and coats everywhere.
We all made a break for the living room as if Santa himself, was still there! Ah, there it was in all its glory. That giant Tinkertoy set, the Sesame Street set with action figures, the Toss-Across game, Mr. Microphone, the Panasonic Boombox and more! The beaming smiles on our faces were priceless! I couldn't get those batteries in that microphone fast enough. I HAD to hear myself on the radio!
For so many years, my parents gave us such a memorable Christmas. They were never rich and there was no law stating they had to do this for us. They loved us and did whatever they had to do to make sure their children had a memorable Christmas. I will never forget it. And of course, having my late Grandmother there for all of the madness, made it such a special occasion.
Cheers to our parents for all they have done for us over the years. It is more than just presents on Christmas Eve. It's about creating memories of unforgettable joy. Love you, Mom and Dad! Miss you Nana!
Merry Christmas to all of you!