I grew up in the ’60s.
I believed in Santa Claus.
We had a real tree every year with tinsel – real tinsel. And putting it up was a family affair. A tradition that continued into adulthood, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Lately, I’ve been missing my Daddy and some of our family traditions. Seasons pass, life moves us forward into other seasons of life. Some are welcome; some are not.
There are gifts within our family that make us each unique and wonderful, even magical, I’d say.
My Mother has the gift of beauty. From early childhood until now, she’s made everything around her beautiful, from the dinner table to our bedrooms. She can find a sale, shop at the mall, and walk out practically, having them pay her to shop there. She is that magical. I do not know anyone who can outlast her in a mall.
I have known for a long time that both my sister and I have my mother’s gift of beauty, too. We can make champagne from a beer budget.
My Daddy had a way of making every life experience filled with passionate wonder, from shooting 4th of July fireworks out of his poised “gun hand” to having us believe in his unseen friend Sammy.
While growing up, Mother’s gift of beauty and Daddy’s gift of passionate wonder often created magical experiences growing up.
A memory I’ve been lovingly thinking about is Christmas.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, my mother made many of our doll clothes. This required her to sew after we went to bed. She truly gave us the gift of her creativity and time, which is not lost on me. I tear up knowing the love she put into those handmade gifts. I wish I had just one of those precious treasures now.
My Daddy made Christmastime a wondrous adventure. He always made a big deal of putting up Christmas lights on the house, on the tree, listening to Christmas music, and following our tradition on Christmas morning.
On Christmas morning, there was no going downstairs to where the Christmas tree was, no inspecting gifts before mommy and daddy were up. It was unthinkable, and it would ruin the suspenseful fun we willingly played along with.
The tradition was that we would wake them first. When they emerged, then Daddy began his whole spiel. “I wonder if Santa Claus came?” “Are you sure you were good enough this year?”
Of course, we’d answer “yes!” as he started the coffee brewing. Then we waited expectantly on the stairs with Mom as Daddy went to the family room to turn on the Christmas music and the Christmas tree. Then the announcement: We could come to see if Santa had visited. We would excitedly descend to a magnificent display of lights, sounds, and beauty. The presentation was always a part of the morning, the handiwork of both Mommy and Daddy bringing their gifts together and creating their magic for us.