Memories of Santa

I remember standing in line on the day after Thanksgiving to see Santa arrive at the local mall on a fire truck and then patiently (I’m sure) waiting to sit on his lap to tell him what my heart desired for Christmas that year. Every family has a different tradition when it comes to Santa Claus. Things that we did as children to get ready for Santa or things our children did that are indelibly etched in our minds. For instance, when I was a child, we would make Sugar Cookies for Santa and set them out with milk for the tubby guy. Now, I have it on very good authority that Santa’s favorite cookies are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip from a specific local bakery, and that is what my children leave out for Santa. But I remember one snowy Christmas Eve when I overlooked my Mom duties by forgetting to purchase Santa’s treats which instigated a riot and a late night drive to the only open store to procure Santa’s cookies. Each Christmas holiday we store away these Santa memories and the ones we love the most, we try to pass along to the generations after us.

Possibly my most impactful Santa memory was a gift that I received from my grandparents when I was 9. They gave me a book called A Child’s Christmas Cookbook, originally published in the Victorian Era, this book is full of the most beautiful pen and ink illustrations of Santa Claus. It epitomizes the true meaning of Christmas, not the materialistic side of the holiday that we see displayed in today’s society. It describes how to treat Grandpapa when he comes to visit for Christmas; because we all know he has a sweet tooth, by making him cinnamon and sugar toast for breakfast or how to be helpful to Mother, who must be tired after putting up all the decorations by making your own sandwich for lunch. I didn’t realize it when I was 9, but I now cherish the feeling that a book like this hearkens, true connection and care for your family and friends.

I thought I would include a few of the wonderful ideas from this book.

You’re nice to your pets all year round. So why not plan a picnic just for them? Just because it’s Christmas…Give your dog a dog biscuit. Cats like ice cream. Birds a small slice of apple…And turtles – now, how do you have a picnic with a turtle? Well, Alice did…
A gift is something that you make and when it’s half-past November, gifts should be finished and ready to wrap. Such as Pomander Balls
These spicy scented fancies were hung in linen closets, once-upon-a-time. Place unpeeled apple on a pie tin. Stick in whole cloves. Very gently. All over. The more, the better. Roll it in 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Bake in warm oven for about three hours. When it cools, wrap in a scrap of lace, net or nylon stocking. Tie with ribbon. Leave long ends for hanging. Does Mother have an old bonnet with flowers? Use those for decoration.

I’m always struck by how everything was used, and nothing went to waste. A trait that we don’t often use any more. I think if each of us, in our own way looks for ways to be closer to others in this festive time, we personify the Spirit of Santa throughout the entire season and keep these precious memories of Santa alive.

How do you remember Santa?