I need someone else to deck the halls

It’s fun to reminisce. Now the boys are older, we frequently look back on times gone by, and I bask in the warmth of childhood memories I know I’ve provided for my sons.

“Remember the year you wrecked Christmas for me?” asked Ari, 18. We’d been talking about Christmas ornaments, not destroyed childhoods, so I’m not sure where this came from.

“I do not,” I replied, as Christopher, 21, started laughing.

“I was 5, and I slept in the rec room on Christmas Eve because Aunt Rozzy was staying over. I peeked out of the door and saw you carrying hockey pads downstairs. And the next morning, sure enough…hockey pads from Santa!”

“You were supposed to be asleep! Why were you peeking?” I asked him.

“Because you told me not to.”

“I’d already been telling him, but he didn’t believe me until he saw you,” said Christopher. You will have the longest Santa time with the oldest; the younger kids are beat. Ari said he went to school and told all his classmates.

Christopher’s girlfriend Pam, 20, nodded, adding her story to the pile. Apparently believing in Santa, and having that belief busted open is a coming of age thing they never forget. My mother had it nipped in the bud: if you didn’t believe in Santa, he didn’t come.

It got harder over the years to pull off Christmas miracles. One year a six-year-old Christopher stood amidst a pile of presents from Santa, and asked how come I didn’t get him anything.  As the boys got older, they started staying up later than I did, and I would finally just tell them I was going to bed, and they couldn’t go in the living room. I know they did.

I’ve watched the little things drift away over the years. My mom was the heart of Christmas, and this will be the 12th one without her. I put up fewer decorations later and tell myself the boys don’t notice. I still have to make sure we have Pa sausage for breakfast; my father always insisted on the Westphalia garlic sausage from Denninger’s, and the kids renamed it for him when they were small. Every year I stand in that store, holding that little number and getting all teary. Some traditions never change, though breakfast now happens closer to noon.

With the basement turned inside out this year for renovations, my attempt to find the Christmas boxes was admittedly half-hearted. I finally found the stockings in Ari’s closet a week ago. Buried in the bag are the cats’ stockings that Ari made. He didn’t tell anyone he was making them, because he wanted them to be a surprise for the cats. A 6-year-old’s rendition of a calico in felt still makes me smile.

I was away for work when I got a text from Ari. He wanted to put up Christmas lights. Where did we keep them? It has been so long since I put up outdoor lights; I paused before telling him to root around in the garage, or just go buy some if he couldn’t find any. Of course he went directly to the store and bought some. When I got home he had stapled several strings all over the roof above the front door, in a fashion that would make Clark Griswold proud. Every night he plugs them in, and every night his brother complains that they shine in his room like Las Vegas. And Ari smiles. Pam has announced when her exams are done we can go get a tree.

It seems the kids I wrecked Christmas for are bringing it back for me.

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9 responses to I need someone else to deck the halls

  1. Tricia says:

    Christmas lost its appeal for our 22 year old at 4. He asked Santa for a blue bowling ball. A real one. The kid had NEVER bowled. It would have been a weapon in his hands, and an expensive one at that. We had very little money in those days, and the price of that was his whole allotted budget. I couldn’t buy him THAT, when his brother and sister would have many gifts to open for the same amount. I should have.

  2. Wayne Collins says:

    Sounds like you are ready for Christmas, so I will be the first in line to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Keep up the good work.

    Wayne C.

  3. Lorraine Lorraine says:

    I think a bowling ball is hilarious.

    Thanks, Wayne. We’re nowhere near ready, but I actually went out today for the first time in nearly a week. Things are looking up!

  4. Beth says:

    My sons birthdays are late November and today, 18 December, one week before Christmas. As you can imagine, the younger years were filled with “I want this and I want this” every time we went out. From young age I told them they could make wishes and then see which ones came true. I loved it when the oldest, at age 5, asked if we could visit “Toys Are Mine” because he had some more wishing to do.

  5. Sandy says:

    I bought my son a bowling bowl for Christmas one year when he was in a league and loved it.
    10 pounds of beautiful blue bowling ball. His pride and joy.
    When he started high school and they had to do a presentation “All about me” I had no idea that he had taken it to school.
    I found out that night at dinner when he said his back hurt, and then told us he had taken it, in his backback, and ridden his bike to school. Its uphill all the way home!

  6. nursedude says:

    Mom kept all the presents under her bed and one year we peeked to see what we were getting and somehow she found out. On Christmas Day she put a roll of toilet paper in our stockings because she was so pissed off. We never forgot and every year someone at present time or dinner someone would bring it up and we’d all share a laugh.

    • Lorraine Lorraine says:

      My Mom cancelled Christmas one year. The older two (yes, that’d be you, Roz) were being brats, so on Christmas morning, only Gilly and I got stockings. Tears ensued. Mom cracked around noon, if I recall.

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