December 13, 2017

My favorite memory of Christmas in Oklahoma when I was a little girl was the fact that Santa Clause came to our house while we were awake. We didn’t get to see him, but we heard him. When it was about time for Santa to arrive the adults and older kids would send all the children (and there were always a bunch) to the far back room where we would wait in extreme anticipation. One of the teenagers would escort us and stay with us cautioning us to be quiet and listen for the bells on Santa’s sleigh. We’d hear them tingle from far away and they would come closer and closer and get louder and louder. Then his big booming voice, “Ho, HO, HO, Merry Christmas” would ring out from outside the window and, if it had snowed, we’d hear the crunch, crunch, crunch of his and his reindeer’s feet in the snow. I would get so excited I’d think my heart would burst. Then we’d hear him in the house talking to the adults and hoping Mom or Dad wouldn’t tell him of any bad things we had done. After the “Good-bye Santa. See you next year” had died down the door would open and the stampede would begin. When we got to the living room Santa’s cookie plate held only crumbs and his milk was gone. Our stockings were full of apples, oranges, nuts, and bright colorful ribbon candy. Under the tree were delights beyond the imagination. For me, I would often find a beautiful new doll.

My children experienced the more traditional Santa that came while they were sleeping. We always left cookies and milk and sometimes a carrot for Rudolph. The one thing my kids insisted on was that we had a gift for Bandit, our dog. He always got a new chew bone. No matter how old the kids became Santa always came. As they got older, for several years we would go as a family to the movies on Christmas afternoon. A few years ago we went to Colorado for Christmas and that started a tradition of going to my daughter’s house in Durango for a white Christmas.

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