Christmas is absolutely my favorite holiday. Yes, Thanksgiving is special because it represents a prominent historical event in our country’s past, not to mention the perfect roast turkey, pumpkin pie and going —over the river and through the woods--to grandmother’s house or maybe to Aunt Lucy’s condo at the beach. Christmas is not just a holiday. It’s an entire season packed with Christmas carols, tree trimming, parties, visits from far away family members and friends, seeing Santa, nativity scenes, church events, decorating our houses and enjoying our long cherished traditions.
At our house Christmas officially begins when we carry in a freshly cut Fraser fir and put on our decorations with Christmas music playing softly in the background. Opening our giant ornament box is like welcoming back old friends. Many of the ornaments were lovingly made by our daughter and family members who are no longer with us. My most treasured decoration is a tooth pick nativity scene my daughter made in kindergarten. When she arrives for Christmas she always inspects the tree to be sure all of her handmade ornaments are on display.
My favorite Christmas tradition is placing an old Santa doll on the fireplace hearth. He was purchased by my parents for my older brother’s first Christmas almost sixty years ago. After I came along, Santa watched over us every Christmas Eve when we hung our stockings. His face was hand painted with rosy cheeks, merry blue eyes and he had real white hair and beard, topped off with a velvet hat. A black patent belt surrounded his uncommonly trim middle. In the back of Santa’s suit was a gold key that, when turned, it played “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Our Santa was with us every Christmas. Even when tragedy almost stopped us from celebrating, he was there. His presence is documented in over a hundred Christmas photos. My mother saw to it that Santa was carted along to the cousins when it was our turn to go to their house for Christmas. Even when my brother and I out grew stockings, Santa still proudly took his usual spot on the hearth.
When my daughter, the first grandchild, was born, my mother thought it was time to pass Santa on to the next generation. Naturally, after thirty some years of Christmas wear and tear, he badly needed a new suit. My mother didn’t really know how to sew. Buttons, slight tears or hems were the extent of her seamstress abilities but that didn’t daunt her enthusiasm to refurbish Santa for her long awaited grandchild.
Conferring with several of her friends who did sew, she carefully took Santa’s suit apart and traced a pattern of each piece. The entire process took a few months but by our daughter’s first Christmas Eve, Santa was decked out in an immaculate new red velvet suit. Yes, the seams might have been a bit irregular and one pants leg was almost an inch shorter than the other, but Santa was back and good to go for another thirty years. And those tiny little rust colored spots on the faux fur are a testament to my mother’s dogged devotion, and numerous finger pricks, that add to the jolly old elf’s Christmas history.
We have taken very good care of our old Santa for over thirty years. Each December he’s the first one out of the box and the last to be bubble-wrapped and tucked away for next year. We did have a close call a few years ago. Our Lab puppy carted Santa off and dragged him under the bed. Thankfully, we discovered Santa was missing and found him before any damage was done.
Even though there are no bright eyed little ones at our house to be awed on Christmas morning, Santa is still a quiet presence watching over all of us. Our daughter is getting married this spring. Perhaps by Christmas 2015 we might have a grandchild of our own. Then, it will be time for Santa to move on to the next generation. Lucky for him he is so well preserved, because like my mother, I do not know how to sew either.
A modern day fairy godmother makes an astounding offer to practically penniless Gabrielle March. As compensation for fraud against her late father, she is given a boat load of stock and a seat on the board of a Fortune 500 company. The only “string”attached is spending time at corporate headquarters in New York City under the watchful eye of her fairy godmother’s son, corporate tycoon, Pierce Hastings.
Pierce grudgingly agrees to take Gabrielle under his wing. Spending long days with her at the office and cozy nights together in the penthouse, soon Pierce can’t imagine life without her. Unfortunately, the same is not true for Gabrielle, who can’t imagine life with him. She’s always known her place in the world and it is definitely not beside a wealthy, powerful man like Pierce— regardless of what her stubborn heart has to say.
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