Page three Christmas Eve

The True Meaning of the Holiday

Cookies and cocoa provide Santa with a little extra inspiration during his trip from the North Pole.
Cookies and cocoa provide Santa with a little extra inspiration during his trip from the North Pole. (By Larry Crowe -- Associated Press)
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sometimes I can still feel, hear and smell my childhood Christmas memories.

The way my fuzzy pajamas wrapped tightly around my feet, snuggling me.

The soft steps of my parents as they crept downstairs, gifts teetering, threatening to crash and create a pile of Matchbox cars, Golden Books, bike tassels and ornaments picked out just for us.

The clinking of plate against countertop, Santa's cookies ready for pickup.

The hushed whispers and near-silent expletives as my parents assembled trikes, Big Wheels, furniture and anything else that came with directions written in 17 languages.

The beating of my heart, fast-paced and relentless, refusing to let slumber replace excitement.

The soft forehead kiss I pretended to sleep through as my parents made their way back to their room, hoping for at least an hour's sleep before Brett and I sandwiched them in bed.

The race to the Christmas tree. My parents hollering for us to be careful and not kill each other.

The moment we turned the corner and saw gifts piled under a tree that the night before offered only a can of gourmet popcorn and gifts my parents received from work or neighbors.

The Chipmunks singing as we tore through package after package while Mom faithfully wrote down who gave us what so we could write thank-you notes before the holidays were over.

The smell of apple pancakes wafting into the living room as we bagged up the wrapping paper littering the living room floor.

The hundred times my dad set the self-timer to take a family portrait because my brother made some stupid face. Again.


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