Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Taken on a snowshoe trip to the High Country
Everywhere across the world, there are children who are excited about their presents and parents hoping to get everything just right. If I were Queen of the World, I would proclaim that every child would go to bed tonight with a full tummy and that there would be peace in the entire world. That's my wish.

A few years ago, 2009 to be exact, I wrote a post about a long-ago Christmas Eve in my family, and I am sharing it with you here again.

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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. Daddy had begun to assemble a bicycle for our brother Buz, while Mama 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. (Oh, and by the way, I have forgotten what our parents' reaction to all this was, even though I am sure they appreciated the visit from the elves.)


  1. It is Christmas morning here.
    Too many of my Christmas memories are entangled with family members drinking too much. Way too much.
    I am so glad that you and Norma Jean were Santa's helpers that day.
    And hope that your Christmas is pleasant, and filled with love.
    Cyber hugs.

  2. I love that you played the elves! Merry Christmas DJan! xo

  3. Silly parents! Your being there at that particular time was probably a miracle for the three younger siblings. I believe we are where we are meant to be at the right time. I know what you mean about dimming the light on a gift filled party going pretentious Christmas. Hugs to you, dear DJan.

  4. ha. you saved christmas that is awesome....smiles...i hope that you have a most merry christmas djan.....

  5. Thankyou DJan - I am going to read this to my friend in the hospital tonite. Best Christmas Story I've heard for a while. Loved it n Merry Christmas to you all too :)
    p.s. power is back on :)

  6. i remember this story. you saved their butts! :)

  7. I remember this story, DJan and loved reading about it again. What a very happy, wonderful Christmas you gave your young siblings.

  8. Yes, I read this before and I just love it. You write very well, DJan. I admire the love and energy you and your sister put into Christmas. Good for you! Merry Christmas!

  9. Jan...I read this and think how kind and full of love you and Norma Jean are. I do wish for you and for those that you hold near and dear a beautiful and joyous Christmas.
    Happy New Year to you, my friend.

  10. As we age Christmas changes for us. I look back with nostalgia at the Christmas we a had as kids. Mom and Dad worked very hard to make a good Christmas for us.

  11. I never had a problem like this. My parents drank, but never to excess. They were very reasonable and responsible; moderate in everything they did; they were fine upstanding citizens. On the other hand, there was no color in their lives; no fun; not much laughing. As they say, you can't pick your parents, for better or ill, or anything else. But anyway ... three cheers for the elves!

  12. Merry Christmas, friend! My twin granddaughters had a lovely Christmas Eve and we got to be there.

  13. Christmas is still magical for me. What counts is what we make of what we have in our lives.

    Happy holidays to you, DJan, and may it all be magical for you!

  14. How nice you were able to keep Christmas magic for the little ones and that they have good memories of that morning, not sad. Merry Christmas, DJan.

  15. Merry Christmas! I am certain you made a great Team Elf! I hope you have a wonderful day, We are awaiting the household to awaken, only the dogs are up, but they are slowly waking everyone else:)

  16. Hi DJan! Merry Christmas! The last of our brood just left and DH and I are sitting with the cats by the christmas tree drinking coffee. It's about 3:30 pm and we all need a nap. Enjoyed your story. Reading it in my new (new to me but actually an old iPad1).

  17. beautiful photo
    and a beautiful memory
    hugs from all of us, especially from Hope

  18. Such a bitter-sweet story!!

    And tho Christmas isn't what it is intended for so many, I feel you only make Christmas as magical as your mind allows!!

    Happy New Year DJan.

  19. What a fine memory, DJan. I hope this Christmas was equally memorable in a very good way.

  20. You can post this story every Christmas, I love reading it. You and Norma Jean saved the day with your elf magic. This is what Christmas is all about. If your parents didn't appreciate what you did shame on them.

    I hope you and Smart Guy had a wonderful day. Remember Christmas in the heart.

  21. This was a true Christmas story, DJan, THANK YOU for sharing it.


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