Here we are again with Christmas just hours away. It’s that time of year when most of us think about Christmas present(s) and Christmas’ past. There were good Christmas’s and a couple that were only so-so for a variety of reasons. I’ve shared a few of my ‘so-so’ Christmas’s with you that were usually associated with bad gift choices on my part. But yesterday brought back all kinds of Christmas thoughts from Christmas’ past.
We have very close friends that we’ve known for nearly 40 years. There’s 17 years difference in our ages but we’ve stayed very close and watched their 3 daughters from infancy to having their own families. When the couple was dating and still in High School, Marlene was just 15 and worked part time in the sporting goods store for me. Her (now) husband and brother were good customers and we developed a long lasting friendship. Their oldest daughter and husband now go hunting with us in North Dakota every year. The friendship we share with their parents has grown to include them. Its just been a really special relationship we treasure.
Yesterday Rick and Marlene came up with the two oldest daughters and we spent some quality holiday time together. I got the ATV on the lake and plowed out a huge skating rink with all kinds of trails looping around the lake.
We had great times with their kids when they were growing up. One Christmas in particular sticks in my mind.
I had an Ad Specialty business and always had a ton of samples on hand. Everything from playing cards, pencils, note pads, mugs, etc, etc. And of course, all of them had the names of various businesses on them in the form of advertising. Joe’s Bar and Grill, Bill’s Car Sales, and so on. One year I wrapped a bunch of these samples up in Christmas wrap with random names on the tags (not the girls names).
As is my nature, I convinced the girls, who were probably between 5 and 9, that I had connections at the North Pole with a friend of Santa’s. This friend had access to presents that Santa decided wouldn’t be delivered to certain kids due to ‘behavior problems’. That particular winter Santa’s buddy had sent a few of the gifts on to me thinking I might know some deserving children. Sort of like an emissary.
When I told the girls this story, you can’t appreciate the level of awe and respect I got. Until the packages started getting opened up. Think about a 9 year old opening a package for ‘Jimmy’ that had a coffee mug inside with an ad for the Quick Stop Cafe. The facial expressions as the packages were unwrapped were priceless. These girls were/are polite and well mannered. They did there ultimate best to seem appreciative and, well…. pleased? When I let them in on the joke they had a good laugh but it had to be some of the funniest Christmas moments I recall.
Thirty some years later we have a new addition join the festivities.
For her first Christmas, I gave Kate a copy of The Night Before Christmas that I was given when I was around 4 or 5. It was a prize possession for years as the pictures of Santa featured a velvet material for his suit. We read that book every Christmas for many happy years. I wish her the same. What she doesn’t know is that I have a youth model 22 single shot set aside for her 3rd birthday. Mom and dad are avid hunters and her mom was thrilled to know she’d be ready to hit the range in a few years. When she was born, we gave her a pair of Carhartt camo bib overalls, matching top and orange vest. It’s a tradition as I had given her mother a little camo t-shirt when her mom was born. You probably have to live up here to understand.
Christmas Eve day we’re going to spend with my nephews and nieces. My two adult nephews used to spend summers with us as teenagers so again it will be a pleasant trip down memory lane of Christmas’ past. Probably the more memorable holiday memory is one of the nephews (probably about 9 at the time) coming into the house looking for his grandmother. He wanted to show her the baby mice he found which were now residing inside the lining of his coat. Guess it seemed like a good idea at the time!
It’s always wonderful how the really fun Christmas’ always overshadow the ‘so-so’ ones. It took a few of them to understand I shouldn’t buy clothes or kitchen appliances for my wife. That was the best decision I made. Now, we (I) just concentrate on trying to make everyone else’s Christmas’ special. Avoid that old law of unintended consequences and strive for the ‘sure things’. Good food, good conversation and a bit of reminiscing.
Hope everyone has an incredibly Merry Christmas!!!