Oh my, look at what time it is. We better get inside and put you three to bed.
Frantically, the kids search the sky before making a beeline for the door.
Hes not coming yet mommy, is he? Daddy, come on, we gotta go to bed!
My son takes his daddys hand and rushes him into the house.
We strip ourselves of our heavy winter coats, pick out a pair of jammies for the kids and get them ready for bed.
Ill get the cookies, my oldest daughter yells as she runs into the kitchen.
Dont forget the milk, shouts our son. You cant give Santa cookies without milk, thats just cruel.
Once our little end table is topped with sugar cookies and a tall glass of cold milk, we start on the letter.
Thank you for the toys you are giving us tonight. Dont forget to eat your cookies, we made them ourselves. Keep warm.
We tuck the small piece of paper under the Santa-shaped plate and tuck the kids into their warm beds. A kiss on each forehead and a softly spoken Well see you in the morning sends them off to dreamland.
I cant say I remember how I felt Christmas Eve. I hardly remember Christmas morning. I know I was always excited and so ready to rip into gifts. But for the most part, my memories are of the days leading up to Christmas.
Im sure I did just like our children are doing, though. Theres no doubt I tried my hardest to fall asleep as fast I could so morning would hurry up and come. I do remember, however, imagining what my stocking was going to be filled with.
My mother made us all stockings, each one hand-crocheted. Every Christmas morning it was filled to the top with candy and little gifts. It was always the very first thing I checked when I climbed out of bed. I just couldnt wait to dump it out and go through all the goodies.
I guess I do remember what it was like for myself as a child. The more I write, the more I remember. Every year, Santa would leave chocolate ornaments on the tree for us to find. The toys he brought would be sitting out in the open, not wrapped, just set up and ready for play.
While we played with toys Santa brought, my mom would make pecan rolls. Oh, the smell of them baking would mingle with the coffee aroma and fill the house. After she poured her and my father a cup of coffee, and the rolls were out of the oven and cooling, it was time to open the presents.
Everything then was just as it is now. Only this go-around, its me making the coffee and pecan rolls. And its me, silently watching as our children play with their new toys, smiling to myself as they check to see if Santa ate his cookies, and enjoying the glow on their faces as their daddy reads the thank-you letter Santa left under the plate of crumbs.
This year, its us setting the traditions that they will prayerfully follow one day.
Enough of the reminiscing; theres a lot to do. As quietly as possible, my husband and I pull out the toys that have been hidden in the closet for weeks now. Well place the wrapped ones under the tree and set up the ones from Santa.
Well untangle dozens of twist ties, cut even more plastic ties and stick on stickers until our fingers are raw. Ill stuff the stocking hanging on our mantle and decorate the tree with chocolate ornaments.
After all that is said and done, its off to bed for myself. I cant wait for Christmas morning either!
So good night and Merry Christmas. May it be full of wonderful moments that you can cherish forever.
Tanya Nave, who lives in Kensington, is a wife, mother and writer. She can be reached at BlessedwHislove@aol.com.
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