Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas elves


One year when I was home visiting my parents and siblings for the holidays, my sister Norma Jean and I went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I think I had been married for some time and away from home for awhile, but I really don't remember when it was for sure. My parents had two distinct families, and the youngest three were all six or under at this time, while Norma Jean and I were adults.

When we went out the door, Mama and Daddy had begun the Christmas Eve preparations for the young ones in the house (my brother and sisters) who had finally gone to bed. They had begun to assemble a bicycle for our brother Buz and had to finish wrapping and putting Santa's gifts under the tree. It was a warm and happy scene. Off we went to Midnight Mass.

When we returned, the scene was anything but happy. The entire living room was scattered with glasses half-covered in salt (from partially consumed margaritas), and the bike was still only half assembled in the living room. The entire scene was, in a word, a nightmare. And our parents had stumbled into their bedroom and crawled into bed. Apparently in the midst of their tasks, some friends had come over to visit and our parents had gotten quite drunk and forgotten what tonight meant to their young children.

We were aghast. For a few minutes we wandered through the living room and kitchen and wondered what to do. We decided that we would be Christmas elves and fix things. Norma Jean set to the task of reading directions on how to assemble the bicycle, and I began to clean things up: we toiled for several hours before inspecting our work and calling it good. Norma Jean had learned how to follow arcane directions and actually put the bike together! (I was more impressed by this than I let on at the time.)

Well, in the morning the kids came downstairs to find that Santa had indeed come during the night, and that his elves had done their work quite well. It is one of the more satisfying Christmas memories that I share with my sister. We still smile about it. I had to write to Norma Jean to see if my memory of the event matched hers, and it pretty much did. She said,
Maybe that's where I got the start of loving the feeling of accomplishment when I read directions and put things together. . . . We cleaned up and set up the living room to be a real Christmas when everyone got up the next morning. It was certainly memorable.
Over the years, Christmas has lost much of its magic for me. I don't like what I see happening to Christmas these days, but I am sure that there are still many parents, and Santas, and elves, making things happen for others.
:-)

20 comments:

  1. Christmas nowadays doesn't much resemble what we grew up with. It drives me crazy that anything I buy comes with a gift receipt, so it's easy for people to take it all back to the store! I guess that's the best symbol of the times...

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely story, DJ...you and Norma Jean SAVED the day!!!! And I can imagine that that is one of your favorite Christmas memories...What a joy to be able to put to rights something that could have turned out very wrong...You are a jewel! Love your new header photo...it is simply gorgeous! Love you~Janine XO

    ReplyDelete
  3. So, what did your parents think? I hope you fibbed and told them Santa did it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the fact that Santa came through for Mom and Dad was better than it was for the kids. Maybe we made them believe in Santa, too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love it, the elves rode to the rescue and saved Christmas. What a wonderful memory. I'm like you, Christmas just isn't the same anymore. It has become so commercialized and the joy has been lost.

    ReplyDelete
  6. D-Jan,such a warm story!That was sweet of the two of you to do,that's how families should be.Is that your tree? it's lovely!
    Christmas isn't the same anymore....just sad.I just lost a cousin in Australia a few hours ago,she was 40.I feel for her kids aged 6 & 10yrs...so Christmas will be a lowkey affair here...we'll be more prayerful I guess ,which is good.
    Do chk out my travel blog from time to time I've posted on the monuments here...no need to be a follower,I too read blogs I'm not a "follower" of.

    ReplyDelete
  7. DJ, that was truly a nice story of Christmas elves, in the person of you and Norma Jean. Well since they say that Christmas is not the same anymore, we here for sure still keeps the real spirit of Christmas, the traditions are well practiced. I think the concept of commercialism are only for those who didn't know the real spirit of it (no offense meant). The simple family gathering and hearing midnight mass with all the family members are very significant traditions that has been handed down by our forefathers and I thank my grandparents, parents for handing it down to us.

    AL

    ReplyDelete
  8. You and your sister really saved the day. It could have been an upsetting find for the younger ones the next morning. Thank goodness you two set things right. You certainly showed a lot of Christmas spirit. I wonder how many older siblings would even bother now days.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love it! Christmas has changed. It was a whole lot simpler at one point in time. I miss having the kids around but their day is divided up enough with spousal needs, and little children that are shared by two families. I am NOT going to put any more pressure on them to be here.

    I love your stories DJan. I don't have a recall of too many Christmases. Perhaps I should dig deep...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank goodness you and your sister came through! Christmas has not lost its magic for me. Perhaps we've begun simplifying things a bit here. We no longer get gifts for all of the adults, mostly just the children. Some of my best memories of Christmas are of my sister and I waking up early and being forced to stay in our room until my parents finished checking to see if Santa Clause had come (they actually took that time to wake up and get some coffee).
    My husband has retained a child like enthusiasm for the holiday, which I love. And now we have a child of our own. I'm hoping that she stays awake for the presents and breakfast casserole (another Christmas tradition) this year. The one thing I really love is that I get much more joy out of giving than receiving.
    Perhaps you can pop in on Christmas Day to share the holiday joy with us!

    ReplyDelete
  11. DJan, this is a wonderful story in the true spirit of Christmas. You've brighten my day.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It would have been great if you said that you didn't tell your parents that you and your sis tidied and put the bike together. They too might have thought that Santa's little helpers did it! I would have kept that going for a year or two! Good on you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Christmas Elves! The bike was awesome and you're both as beautiful as sisters can possibly be!

    ReplyDelete
  14. A memorable post with lots of meanings for us all. Thanks for writing it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Aaww DJan what a great story, and a wonderful memory you share with your siblings.
    Christmas was always filled with parties when I was growing up, it was'nt Christmas without your parents getting home late from a party, and having a song and dance on the way home from the pub at two in the morning. I try and hold all those memories close in my heart, I try and tell the grandchildren how it used to be, but no words can describe the good times we had back then.
    A pillarcase filled with a toy, oranges, apples, and nuts, and a surprise if you were lucky.
    Yes, simpler times, but so much fun.
    Love this post !

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your post was so sweet – I enjoyed it very much.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a sweet story. I hope your parents realized what wonderful daughters they had.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You and your sister certainly had the Christmas Spirit..Good for you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh, you were such a kind little elf!

    ReplyDelete
  20. That really is a wonderful Christmas memory! I love it...

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.