A perfect Christmas. Somehow that always seemed to elude me as I was growing up. My parents giving me a fondue pot instead of a guitar. Dad telling me I’d better not shoot my new rocket with a certain one of the space capsules, doing it anyway, and breaking it as he had predicted. Bringing the tureen of mashed potatoes in from the kitchen, pausing in the doorway, all eyes upon me as the tureen slips through my fingers, hits the floor, and cracks in half.
This week I experienced the perfect Christmas, bathed in it, drank it in. Shandra was the most perfect tree I can remember (they always tell Carol their name). All my children (and three partners) were there all afternoon and evening. All the presents we gave the kids seemed to be perfect and go over like gangbusters. Eli took a page from Daddy’s playbook and gave out a book she wrote. Santa heard our microwave had died and brought one just in time.
The turkey and ham came out beautifully. Everybody brought side dishes and everybody pitched in. Three friends, my mother, and my brother’s family joined us for dinner. One of the friends remarked that he had never experienced a family that had so much acceptance and love and so little friction. Wow…
The evening was full of laughter and music. I sang “O Holy Night” and butchered the high note just like that horrible Christmas morning at Church of the Resurrection circa 1999. It got a big laugh, so it wasn’t a total loss. Donna contributed an original Christmas novelty song, Aaron played Irish jigs on the violin, and ten-year-old niece Haley on recorder and I improvised a duet on “Linus and Lucy.” For a blessing, I read from A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
Carol requested “the magic” this year, so she left a letter to Santa and went to sleep with nothing under the tree. In the morning, the presents were under the tree, the angel was on top, and there was a letter from Santa with cookie crumbs on it. Here is what it said:
Give of your treasure and you will never be poor.
Love from the fullness of your heart and you will never be unhappy.
Treat the world with kindness and welcome and you will never be lonely.
Do not live each day as if it were your last–
Live each day as if you will live forever as the person you are today.
I may be Santa Claus (and let me tell you, that chimney was no picnic) but you bring Christmas to your world every day. God love you for it!
*[“Cuffy” is Carol’s family-of-origin nickname. I have never called her “Cuffy.” Ooooh…]
Write a letter from Santa. Don’t use the one above as an exemplar, just write your own, your style, your concept.
Doug and Carol
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© 2014 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. Please share, reblog, link to, but do not copy or alter.