1856— Out on the prairie Christmas morning.
There’s an elated youngster unfolding a brown homespun fabric package:
“My mended boots!” the little boy shrieks, “Thank you, mama! They look as fine as cream gravy! And you knitted a new scarf from the sheep’s wool you spun three weeks ago—ya’ sure got a wiggle on and got that done in a spiffy. There’s not even a shoddy thread. Gee wilikers, everything looks so grand!”
The 1920’s-- Christmas day:
“Oh Applesauce!” Mrs. Williams gasps, plucking her brand new wool coat out of an elegant red box with green tissue. “Mr. Williams, you didn’t! I didn’t think you knew I wanted this! Well if this isn’t the cat’s meow!”
“Do you like it, baby? I paid a pretty clam for it.”
“It’s the berries!” she breathes.
“Pretty an as orchid, isn’t it? You can put away your glad rags because you’re gonna look right swanky and keen all dolled up in your new coat.”
“Says you! Aren’t you the darb!” she exclaims, giggling excitedly.
Christmas Eve of 1940:
The family is sitting contentedly in the parlor, listening to soft music on the big radio console. Mama sits Billy down and hands him a nicely wrapped package. “Billy dear, your father and I have a gift for you to open tonight, something to help you sleep all nice and cozy.”
“Golly, what is it?” Billy asks, jumping up and down in excitement.
“You’ll have to open it and see,” mama laughs, giggling that Billy didn’t catch the hint.
Mama and papa laugh harmoniously as they watch their precious little Billy tear the wrapper off the package.
“Jeepers!" Billy exclaimed, opening his Christmas Eve gift from mama and papa. “If this isn’t the cat’s pajamas!” Billy stands up and holds up his brand new pair of sleeping clothes, inspecting them. “Thanks Mama! Thanks Papa!” Billy shouts in glee, walking over and giving them each a big hug.
“Off with you now,” mama laughs. “Try them on. Your father and I will be up in a jiffy to tuck you in.”
Billy races out of the room and up the stairs, hollering in excitement. Mama and papa laugh, sipping their hot cider, singing Christmas carols in perfect harmony as they hold hands and watch the snow fall, petting their perfectly groomed cocker spaniel.
Christmas eve of 1960:
“Johnny, Kathy, Molly, Tiny Tim, sweeties, Your cruisin’ for a bruisin’ if you don’t get into bed now, or else the fat jolly elf himself won’t be comin’ tonight! Oh, dear!”
Mama June puts her hands on her waist, looking stern. “Now hurry and mind your father. Cut the gas and don’t let him hear you or you’ll rattle your father’s cage. Now brush your teeth,” she instructs, “and come give me a hug!”
“One more story!” Her little monsters plead. “Please? Pretty Please?!” they squeal.
“Oh….well, okay!” mama caves, easily persuaded. “But don’t tell your father!”
Everyone joins together as mama tucks them all into her double bed. Once everyone is settled, Mama June sits on the bed and reads The Night Before Christmas to wide-eyed children. Closing the book, mama leans in and gives them a great big hug. “Nighty-night and sleep tight—”
Everyone joins in and sings together, “AND DON’T LET THE BED BUGS BITE!”
They all collapse together in a hysterical pile, passing hugs and sweet kisses to mama and each other.
Christmas Eve, 2009. 12:07 am:
“HOLY CRAP KIDS! IF YOU DON’T GET IN YOUR BEDS NOW AND FALL INSTANTLY ASLEEP—SANTA DOES NOT LEAVE COAL ANY MORE! HE’LL LEAVE YOU THE GENERIC MACARONI AND CHEESE! AND THAT IS ALL YOU’LL GET! I’VE JUST TEXT MESSAGED RUDOLPH’S CELL PHONE, I HAVE HIS NUMBER ON SPEED DIAL AND I LEFT HIM A VOICE MESSAGE!!”
My threat isn’t empty…
“STOP TALKING AND GET TO BED! NOoOoooOOOOW!!”
(The last word was spoken in the voice of Gollum.)
In the background, there is the faint thudding sound. No, it’s not the sound of mom’s neck veins bursting; it’s the sound of mom’s head pounding against the wall in constant repetition, wanting this night to end. For the night will be one of sleep-deprivation as she sits in the hallway, watching for kids, ready to capture them and haul them back to their rooms.
Christmas is a week from friday, ladies!!
Christmas is NEXT WEEK!
Are you ready? Thanks goodness we will have 2 weeks after Christmas to recover.
Man, I’ll need the full 2 weeks to convalesce from Christmas Eve alone!