Woony Memories

Treasure the Santa Years

By Dan Hagman, Corona, Calif.
Ahhh… It’s the Christmas season. Time to dig out the dusty ornaments and test the light strings. Nothing fun about climbing around on ladders and freezing your fingers off while hanging outdoor decorations. Trudge off to pick out the over-priced tree. Tie it on the car. Suppose nobody will see the scratches it leaves on the roof. Try not to pull any muscles in the process. Yep, there are many reasons to dread the calendar flipping to December.
Funny though that we do that stuff every year, so there must be a reason. Oh, there’s not “A” reason, there are a million of them. We fight through the drudgery parts because the fine parts are so amazing. Kids are only children for such a short time. The Santa Claus years are precious and worth every minute of prep work, knuckle chill and vehicle damage.
Super 8 video of early ‘60s Christmas mornings is rare, but who from my generation doesn’t have a few black and whites of those moments? Footy jammies and crew cut kids sitting in front of real Christmas trees that were lit by colored bulbs, which would, and did, burn your house down. Silver icicles fell from dry needles and tangled vacuum cleaners for months. Burl Ives and Gene Autry were the common crooners instead of Mariah Carey or Reba’s Country Christmas classics.
Parents have been dealing with holiday negatives for generations because we all treasure the warm and fuzzy family times they bring. Of course, now the Christmas light bulbs are LED and you can tie them around your neck without getting third degree burns. The video is digital HD and you can shoot a couple hours on the phone in your pocket. Suppose it’s gotten just a tad bit easier. Don’t think for a moment though, that we wouldn’t be doing it the old-fashioned way if that’s all there was available. The opportunity to see our kid’s or grandkid’s faces on Christmas morning is all the incentive we need. Make sure the home insurance is paid because it’s time to fire up the holiday lights. Don’t care if there are a few extra extension cords threatening to take the house down. It’s what we do.
I’ve written in the past about some wintery season Woony memories, but they are just so vivid to me that I can’t help re-visiting. While there were certainly years of dry or muddy brown holiday seasons, those haven’t stuck with me. Perhaps I’ve just latched on to the picturesque, crystal white Christmases because they are so darn perfect. What kid hasn’t looked into the stars to try to pick out Santa’s sleigh?
I remember looking out the window one Christmas Eve when we were still living out on the farm. Pitch black except for the frozen white nature’s carpet and the moon’s lighting. I wanted to see Rudolph’s nose. He must be out there somewhere, but where? As I focused on the individual starlights looking for any movement, Dad reached up and wiggled a little elf that was positioned above the curtain rod. It had a tiny little bell that made a little “ting” and fully convinced me that I’d seen and heard Santa’s entire team of reindeer. They must certainly be on the roof at that very moment. It was a brilliant way to get an amped 4-year-old with eyes the size of silver dollars into bed immediately. Everyone knows that Santa won’t come in if kids are awake.
I suspect that is one of those moments that kept my parents going through the Christmas drudgery. Like their parents before them, they knew it led to the good stuff. My wish to you is that your holiday season is filled with all the “good stuff” and each of you has your own Rudolph moment. Merry Christmas!

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