Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ginger Simpson's Christmas Memory

Sleigh Bells and Reindeer

“I think I hear sleigh bells,” my dad would say every Christmas. We’d scurry to our bedrooms and pretend to be fast asleep. Being the oldest of four, I knew Dad was the one who went outside and attempted to make reindeer tracks in the dirt. We didn’t have a fireplace, so Santa had to come in through the door. The important thing was that he came.

How my mom and dad managed to give us such joy and the very thing we wanted when the raft shop where my dad worked at the local air force base paid ninety cents an hour.
We thought we were in hog heaven when he brought home the canned rations every now and then. Each one had a candy inside, and the crackers weren’t bad either. I can’t recall a Christmas that didn’t put a permanent smile on my face and joy in my heart.

Although Dad was Jewish and didn’t believe in the reason for the season, he was always the first to shake the presents beneath the tree. We always vowed to wait until Christmas morning to open gifts, but he was the culprit behind the “let’s open just one.”

Sure, one turned into two, and before we knew it, we sat amongst opened boxes and a landslide of wrapping paper, happy with what we’d received, but disappointed that once again we’d failed to wait until morning. So the tradition continues. Christmas eve is our time to celebrate, and I’m always urged on by my father’s voice in my head, telling me now from heaven, “just open one. What harm can it do?” Oh, we still have our Christmas dinner on the day of, and as a Christian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus, and I will be forever thankful for the parents he gave me.

We weren’t rich in the financial sense, but in love we were millionaires. I’d give anything to have one of those Christmas Eves over again, and hear my Dad’s sweet voice talking to me for real. He’s been gone for over twenty years now, but if you’re listening Daddy, your little girl loves you with all her heart, and I miss you still. You’ll always be in my heart.

I wish all a "let's just open one," Christmas. Happy New Year, too.


Roseanne Dowell said...

Ah Ginger, such sweet memories. I know what you mean about wishing to hear their voice again. We were always allowed to open one gift also and I followed through with the tradition with my kids. Since none of the other gifts appeared under the tree until morning, it wasn't diffficult to choose. It was always our clothes for Christmas Eve. The package were scattered between gifts we were taking with us wherever we were going that year. Funny thing, neither me, my siblings, nor my kids ever caught on. Even as we grew older, the excitment of opening that one gift stayed with us.

Marie Higgins said...

How beautiful!! I love memories like that! Thanks for sharing, Ginger. And thanks for the tears of joy that sprang to my eyes just now... lol


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

I've been writing up so blogs for next week and along with them came the memories of childhood Christmases. My family always opened presents on Christmas Eve. We had a tradition: supper, usually Oyster Stew, then driving around to look at the Christmas lights, then home to unwrap presents. Santa always visited Christmas morning and filled stockings and left the 'big gift.' My husband has never allowed us to open presents on Christmas But several years, we went to my mom's and exchanged gifts with her on that night. These days, because of out of town family, we've celebrated on New Year's Eve more often than not and will do that this year, too. It extends the holiday, so I'm not complaining. Happy Christmas!

Jannine said...

What a nice memory to have, Ginger.

I love the memories from my Christmas' past. They were magical. After I had children, they were even more special. And now with grandchildren, I get to live the feelings and memories all over again.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Ginger,

Thanks for sharing. I'm so impressed by your dad.

I grew up in a Jewish household so we didn't celebrate Christmas. Instead, we had Channukah - eight nights, with a present each night. I can still remember the excitement, coming home from somewhere, dusk falling, thinking about the gift, waiting to be opened!


lionmother said...

Hi Ginger,
When you spoke about your father my lip started to tremble. I could feel the love you have for him in the way you spoke about him. I think, being Jewish, I can understand how your father felt. My sister-in-law wasn't Jewish and so since we were always going to my brother's house at Christmas we celebrated there. My children got presents and so I decided we needed to have Christmas at our own house. I filled stockings and gave my daughters one present. They grew up celebrating both holidays. I got excited every Christmas buying presents for both holidays. My girls loved getting double presents and didn't feel so bad when their friends talked about their Christmas gifts.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Ginger,
Your story touched my heart. I can so relate to it. I remember one Christmas, I received a doll from Santa, but didn't get a pram (my parents were struggling just to buy the doll), so Dad found an empty cardboard box, he threaded some string through one side so I was able to pull my dollie around in a cardboard "pram."



Morgan Mandel said...

What wonderful memories!

We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day, but my Dad would let us open one present on Christmas Eve. That was always special since we'd try to pick the best one to open right away.

Morgan Mandel

Charlie said...

Wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing!
C.K. Volek