Gateway: Living

Recalling a few great memories from Christmas past

Experiences of celebrating Christmas and other holiday events differ from person to person, and even within a particular family, the memories may not be the same.

As another holiday season comes around, such remembrances are freely shared, and the best ones (or most uncommon ones!) are often passed down the generations.

Here are some well-remembered times of Christmas past.

Joyce Fischlin shared a family mystery from her childhood.

Her family was visiting the Lloyd and Aggie Severtsen family for a Christmas gathering.

“Santa came in the back door, gave everybody a candy cane and went back out,” she said.

Everyone asked who that was and none of them knew, or if they did, covered it up well. To this day, nobody has ever admitted to knowing who he was.

Any of you readers know the answer to that one?

Our own Santa stories were quite different.

When our two oldest sons were 3 and 5, we took them to a Christmas party at the Quinault Grange.

Santa arrived and delivered goodies and gifts to the small fry, and after he moved on from our boys, Michael, the youngest, asked “Why is Santa wearing Crampa’s shoes?”

Crampa was Michael’s name for Grandpa at the time, and Grandpa’s shoes were an unusual bronze color.

Our probable answer was “Maybe he likes that kind.”

An earlier story was when Jamie was that age. Our family tradition began with having Christmas Eve with Frank’s parents at Quinault, opening gifts, then in the morning, heading to Tacoma to gather with my family on Christmas Day.

As Jamie was being tucked in, he asked, “Will Santa still come tonight?”

My reply was “Hmmm ... guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

I went to my mother-in-law, then Washington State Grange Chairman of Women’s Activities, and told her the tale.

She took me to her office and pulled out a couple of little books, a couple of small cars, and a clean dish soap plastic bottle covered with a felt “mini office” for a child. It held scissors, pencils, crayons, a glue stick and other items.

We wrapped these for the boys “from Santa” and the “mini office” was the biggest hit!

Needless to say, our tradition changed to one gift the night before, and most gifts not put under the tree until after the boys were in bed.

My hubby recalls having fun with his parents wrapping a huge auto seat cover box. The recipient — his 9 or 10-year-old sister — had to dig through piles of tissue paper to find a small wrapped gift of pretty pink panties.

Delving farther back in my memories, a special one for me was when my cousin Dulcie asked me to play Santa for her 3-year-old son. I really didn’t think I could pull it off, but she insisted I could. I was rather pudgy and (obvious to those who know me) rather short, even for a teenage girl.

But dress up I did, and tried to lower my voice to say hello and ho,ho,ho!

He acted as though he believed it all, but the minute I was out the door, he said to his mom, “Doesn’t Tonna know girls don’t play Santa Claus?”

Savor those fun times, especially those of you who’ve lost a loved one this year who will be especially missed at Christmas or other holiday gathering.

Share them, even commit them to written or recorded remembrances.

A special thank-you note from the Bluegrass Minstrels for a great attendance at their Revelry, with more than $14,000 donated for The Red Barn!

Merry Christmas to all!