Everyone knows I love Christmas. I love walking among the fragrant trees and choosing one which speaks to me. I love carrying the boxes of ornaments to my tree and unwrapping each one very carefully. Unbidden, a memory pops up of our Christmas angel dressed in turquoise velvet who perched at the top of our trees year after year. We adored her. Around the third year our lovely angel's head began to slowly revolve; no one knew why
or how to stop that rotating blonde head. But how could we give her up? We couldn't of course. But Jeanne and Sharon said our Christmas angel was "creepy." I had fleeting thoughts of Linda Blair in The Exorcist which I immediately banished. But what if pea soup exploded all over our glorious tree?
Guests would laugh nervously as they eyed our teal angel.
"It's a bit eerie, don't you think?" Yes, we did. I could no longer eat pea soup. I tried gluing her head to her body to no avail. And then one year she was gone. Had I in a drunken frenzy after
half a cup of eggnog somehow disposed of her unnerving splendor? Had she gone to Christmas Angel Heaven? And would she be allowed in? The mystery remains unsolved.
I also like to buy and make presents and wrapping them is even more fun. The beautifully adorned gifts are set out in early December so I can enjoy them until Christmas. Unfortunately, they're a bit dusty by then and some have been given attention by my cats. Their inventive additions are often claw marks in the paper, chewed on ribbons and pulled out bows. Sometimes a bit of kibble is thoughtfully left on the gift.
Jeanne offered to cook Christmas dinner this year and I of course would help. I would make my famous corn souffle, the dressing and dessert. Except.....Elvis offered us all some very tasty eggnog which didn't have that cloying sweetness of most eggnog. Being very thirsty I slogged down the entire glass in record time.
After about fifteen minutes my eyes glazed over and I said to no one in particular, "I feel a bit peculiar," and sat down on the nearest sofa. "Was there any liquor in the eggnog?" I said rather stupidly. "Oh, yes," said cheerful Elvis. "Three kinds of liquor; I found a new recipe! It's good isn't it?"
Illumination flooded in. "Oh, yes, quite...delightful." I decided to lie down for a while. After driving twenty hours straight from Wisconsin, Sharon decided it would be wise to make the corn souffle, the dressing and the dessert herself. At one point I heard one of my grandchildren say, "What's with Grandma?"
I did not hear the reply.
While there is a great deal to be said of Christmas Present when one's children are grown and one's grandchildren no longer believe in Santa and we all can sleep late on Christmas morning, those memories of Christmas Past when we rose before dawn to see the wonder of all that Santa had wrought still make me misty-eyed.
The girls' excitement at seeing all the presents, some too big to wrap, the thrill of knowing Santa Claus had done his magic, eaten his cookies and fed his reindeer while they slept, dreaming of Christmas, is enough to make me long for those halcyon days of Christmas Past.