December 11th, 2001

JOY

The Season of Giving

On my way back from dropping off Christmas Cards at the Post Office, I stopped into the Florist next door to look at their small Christmas trees. *Real* Pine too -- the smell is another big reason why I want one. I made a little small talk with the florist about the weather and how the cold must be good for his business, and out of nowhere, he handed me a pink flower on a long stem. I told him that I was pricing the trees today but that I'd probably come back tomorrow with my car so I don't have to ride on the train with a Christmas tree. He was very kind in explaining the types and prices to me and gave me his business card. Service like that? I'll be buying one.

I've been humming "Sleigh Ride" in my head ever since.
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JOY

He Sees You When You're Sleeping, He Knows When You're Awake

Since I’m in a Christmas kind of mood, and I’m sure you’re all as curious about my childhood as I love to talk, today’s boredom-inspired childhood tale will be about Christmas. Christmas was always a big event in my house as I was growing up and I started looking forward to it shortly after my birthday. My mother used to deck the halls and rooms and outside and every possible surface area with so many decorations that it looked like one of those temporary mall Christmas stores in my house for a whole month, but somehow, it always looked tasteful. Even in non-holiday décor, my mother has the ability to cram tons of things into one visual space and still make it work. Anyway, back to Christmas.

One of the earliest stories I can remember that has to do with Christmas took place when I was about two or three. My brother, therefore, was around nine or ten. He was a member of the Indian Guides, a now-un-PC Boy Scout-esque club where they wore headbands with feathers and had meetings and stuff. I don’t remember much about the Indian Guides, other than his headpiece, and how I once attended an Indian Princesses thing with my dad but am not sure if I ever went to any others.

The Indian Guide group, maybe they were called a tribe, I’m not sure, met at our house for their Christmas party thing. All of the boys were meeting downstairs to do a present exchange and some other party events, but I was banished to my bedroom. According to my mother, I was a very difficult child to manage, as I was always getting into something or another and I had a history of doing outlandish things while guests were over (remind me to tell you about the time I streaked the CCD/Bible Study class my mother was teaching). My dad was upstairs with me entertaining me a bit and then tucked me in for bed and left me to go downstairs. I got out of bed and went to the top of the stairs, from which I could see the front door.

In came Santa Claus. I couldn’t believe my luck. I ran down the stairs to meet him, but was swept up by my father and carried back upstairs, screaming and reaching for Santa the whole time. My dad put me back in my room and tucked me into bed. I started crying and said that I wanted to see Santa Claus. He told me that I had to stay in bed because Santa wasn’t here to see me but he was here for the Indian Guides and that I’m not allowed into their party. I cried and cried and cried, but I stayed in bed this time, crying and confused as to why Santa didn’t want to see me.

I told this story to my mom a few years back, and she didn’t quite understand why I see it as one of the more amusing and yet more traumatic stories of my childhood. “It was one of the other dads dressed up as Santa, Meg, he was there for the Indian Guides.” Yes, mom, I explained, I understand that now as an adult. But you told a three-year-old that she couldn’t see Santa because he wasn’t there for her.

I actually thought I wasn’t going to get any toys that year.