When I was about eleven years old I liked the comic strip Doonesbury. One year for Xmas I got a collection of Doonesbury comics. It was Doonesbury’s Greatest Hits, and had Zonker Harris in a white suit on the cover.
About two weeks after Xmas, my mom got mad at me for some reason and I argued back at her. As punishment, she built a fire in the fireplace and burnt my Doonsebury’s Greatest Hits book.
“So what are the hot toys for kids for Xmas this year?” she asked me and my wife.
“Well, this year we’re getting one of our sons an office chair,” we said back.
One year at Xmas I got a phone call from a doctor telling me that there might be something wrong with my brain. That year, as most years still, I took one of our twins for a ride each night to calm him down before bed. That year, on our ride, you could just barely see an apartment building behind the insurance office on the corner of University Avenue. One of the tenants in the building had decorated his apartment by putting a string of colored lights around the window.
I don’t know why, but every night when I saw that string of colored lights, as I drove around worrying about my brain and listening to Xmas carols with my son, I felt better.
I think that tenant must have moved. It’s Xmas now, and we drove by it tonight but the lights weren’t up. I’d like to find out who lived there and say hey thanks for putting up those lights man.
The best Xmas Eve of my life was the one where it snowed too hard for us to drive to Milwaukee and visit my family. So we stayed home and took the kids sledding, and later that night we watched Godzilla before going to bed. I compare every Xmas Eve to that one now and although some of them are pretty fun, none of them measures up to Godzilla Sledding Xmas Eve.
Those were all true stories, and so is this:
When we were kids, one year on Xmas Eve we had the whole family over: uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, everyone. Around nine o’clock we were all in the living room waiting to open presents when suddenly Santa Claus walked in. He had his red suit and beard and a bag of presents, and he gave presents to all the kids and asked if we were good that year, and Ho Ho Ho’d and then after he was done he walked out into the hallway and I assume he left the house but we didn’t see him go.
Later on when we were older we of course knew that it must have been someone in a Santa suit but I still remember how awesome it was that Santa came right into our house and talked to us. Even after I realized it wasn’t really Santa there was a part of me that remembered what it felt like to actually have Santa come into our house. Santa. It made me feel like I was really something special, for a long time. If I’m being honest, it still kind of does.