The Christmases Of My Youth




The Yule Log and Christmas music
played on, continuously,
flickering from the old console tv screen
at Grandma and Grandpa's house,
all of every Christmas Eve.



I knew it wasn't a real fireplace.
And yet-
it warmed me into my soul,
as I sat there on the floor,
fixated on the flames and grinning.



We made Santas out of apples, cloves,
and marshmallows, and raisins.
Rolly-polly, red orbs of treats,
that Gram put out for us,
to create...and then eat, each year.



Santa always stopped by
for an all-too-quick visit,
reminding us to be 'extra good'
'listen to mom and dad' and to 'go to bed early'
so he could arrive, at our home, that night.



And even years later, as I grew,
and knew it was my own Dad,

and Grandpa before him, in that suit,
I never let on-for it kept the magic alive for me,
for just a bit longer, in my youth.



We'd eat a Christmas Eve feast,
'till we were pert near bursting.
Gramps even let us have
our yearly taste of Creme De Menthe-
and I can still taste it on my tongue, even now.



Then, back at home, the other rituals began-
hurriedly getting into our PJs,
deciding who got the milk,
who got the cookies and the carrot,
and who got the plate to put them on.



All four of us collected the snacks,
and set them out, carefully,
right there on the coffee table,
where we knew Santa would see them-
and sometimes, we even left him a beer!



Then, all tucked into bed,
Dad came in for the yearly reading.
We sat, mesmerized by the story-
'The Night Before Christmas',
like we'd never even heard it before!



Oh, how I'd try to fall asleep fast,
and not giggle with my sis,
'till we were 'shushed' multiple times over.
But the anticipation of Christmas coming,
always seemed to be the hardest to deal with.



But, eventually, morning came early for us-
and for Mom and Dad, much too early!
But we didn't know back then,
that they had just gotten to sleep at 4 am-
so we figured they'd want to get up at 6 am too!



The piles of presents always delighted,
and always made our eyes go so big.
The scramble to get a good spot under the tree,
to sit and open each gift,
was like a starting-line-mad-dash.



Getting the Chatty Cathy doll I so wanted,
and the Easy Bake Oven,
and the games of Peanut Butter and Jelly,
CandyLand and Don't Break The Ice,
were those first, 'dream-come-true moments' of life.



Everything had to be opened and played with,
for it was Christmas Morning!
And all the toys that Santa brought me,
NEEDED to be played with! 
...Or so my little over-excited mind told me.



Christmas Day brought more feasts,
more fun, and even more presents,
from Grandmas and Grandpas
and Aunts and Uncles,
who came to share the special day.



I look back at old pictures of these events,
all these heart-warming memories,
of the Christmases of my youth,
and I re-live each one, so clearly,
that it seems like only yesterday, I was there.


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