Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: Counting Down


Winner of the signed copy of Sacrifice plus the $25 Amazon gift card:
Michelle Bledsoe! 
Thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories here. - DB

The Christmas that made me cry - three times


It was going to be a memorable year for me, but I didn't know it yet. It was right after Thanksgiving.
I was eight years old and had heard a lot of talk at school that Santa Claus wasn't real. To be on the safe side, though, I wrote a letter to Santa during the first week of December. My dad mailed it for me, because there weren't any mailboxes we could walk to, and the post office was far away.

A few days later, I thought of something else I wanted to say. Can't remember what it was now, but it was one of those burning things that had to be conveyed. I went looking for a clean piece of paper in my sister's desk. She was fifteen years old and had stationery with roses on it and stamps in her desk. I intended to make off with a sheet of rose paper and only admit it if she noticed one was missing. (Did I mention we were sisters?) 


Inside her desk drawer, I was shocked and surprised to find my opened letter to Santa, along with a half-written reply. How could she have my letter unless...? Crushed by the realization that the kids at school were right, I hid out for the rest of the day and cried myself to sleep that night. Dad caught the scent of trouble the next day, and after I blurted out my problem, he explained that Santa did exist, but not as the man in the red suit. Santa was the spirit of Christmas that made us glow when we gave presents to others and gave to charity. The letter-writing, reindeer, and all that? Something to help the "little kids" until they had grown up enough to understand. I took right to this explanation. After all, I wasn't a "little kid" anymore, and here was the proof! Eight years old might seem like an advanced age to be figuring all this out, but it was a more naive time then. When it came time to tell my sons about Santa Claus, I have to admit I went for the magic. But I talked about the way different people around the world envision Santa Claus, including some stories from other countries, so my kids wouldn't get too hung up on chimneys and reindeer. I actually think they knew at least a year before they asked me.

If only Santa revelations had been the worst that Christmas had in store for me that year! Two days before Christmas, my cat Sugar died. It was some disease; all I knew was that she had been feeling bad, went to the vet and didn't come home. Oh, Sugar! I miss her to this day. She was a sweet, tiger-striped cat with a red nose I'd loved all my short life. Tears poured from me and I couldn't be consoled. On Christmas morning I opened my presents without joy and thanked everyone in a dull voice. It was too soon to be happy. Then my mother brought something in from the kitchen, and I heard a tiny mew. I couldn't believe it when Mom settled a little gray ball of fluff into my lap. I loved Sugar Two from the instant I laid eyes on her. This time there were tears of joy. 

The holidays tend to stir old memories and sometimes deep emotions. I'd love to hear one of your old holiday memories.

I've donated Mortal Path Books 1 & 2 for the Grand Giveaway at the end of this very special event. Right now, I'm giving away a signed copy of Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2, plus a $25 Amazon gift card so that you can enjoy even more books. I'll choose a random winner from those who comment by Friday, December 23rd. To make it easy to get in touch with you if you're the winner, please leave your email in some disguised form.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night.

32 comments:

Roni said...

My saddest Christmas wasn't that long ago. I had rescued a pit bull, Cyrus. Picked him up on Christmas day, and he died two years and two days later. And that was also the Christmas we had a bad snow storm so I didn't get to spend the holidays with my family.
roni42@roadrunner.com

SandyG265 said...

A number of years ago my grandmother died shortly before the holidays. So it was sad because it was the first year without her. But it was also a happy holiday because my brother had adopted a baby so it was also our first holiday with her.

sgiden at verizon.net

alainala said...

okay mine was also the end of santa.. santa came to our house.. distributed gifts.. it was awesome! until i realized that under his santa suit, he was wearing my grampas flannel shirt... lol.. no foolin me after that!

alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

Chelsea B. said...

An old Holiday memory of mine was actually not so long ago, just last year. Our whole household was sick for around two weeks, all through Christmas time. It was so sad, especially for the little ones. No one could enjoy a thing:-(
This year, we're determined to stay well :-)

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Bonnie said...

The christmas I remember the most was when I was about 9 or 10 years old. It was actually Christmas Eve and we were over at my Grandmother's house. I loved going there because she would make homemade noodles and cookies. The entire family would gather arround the piano and sing Christmas carols hug and laugh with each other. When it came time to open gifts, paper would fly everywhere while all of us kids tore open our packages. My gift was a big pickle jar with 2 white and black mice in it. I loved those mice even after the one bit me. Now our whole family is scattered across the country but my cousins still tease me about those mice.
This was the last Christmas everyone was together. I miss them but thanks to facebook we all keep in touch.

Bonn1511(at)aol(dot)com

CrystalGB said...

One of my first holiday memories was when I was in first grade and my mom got me a Lucy(from Charlie Brown) watch. I loved it and wore it for years.
Crystal816[at]hotmail[dot]com

Jessica@a GREAT read said...

Memories, hmmm....ah ha! When me and my cousins were all young under 10 I think, can't remember the right age. We were at my grandma's for xmas day and had finished opening up the presents. Then the adults told us to cover our eyes and they disappeared to the back bedroom. This was the time I remembered that I peeked!

They came out with doll trunks for our American Girl dolls! They were really nice and lasted a long time. It wasn't until years later that I think my lid might have broken a latch.

But still I can remember that I was a "peeker".

jessica(DOT)agreatread(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Van Pham said...

My favorite holiday memory was Christmas five years ago. It was when my nephew was born, and probably the last time when the family was all together and the last time we actually put up a Christmas tree.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Littopandaxpress(at)yahoo(dot)com

donnas said...

One of my favorites is the first year I had my kitten and he climbed up my moms tree. He was so cute. And had such an innocent face that you just knew that while he might have been int he tree. He is not the one that knocked the ornaments down.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

elaing8 said...

As a kid my most memorable memory is when I got a Mrs. Beasley doll.I didn't let go of her for a long time.lol. My most recent memories are watching how excited my nieces and nephews get.

Happy Holidays

elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

Dakota Banks said...

Thanks so much for sharing your moving and memorable recollections. Keep them coming!

JenM said...

I don't celebrate Christmas, but one of my favorite memories was of the year we spent most of December in Thailand on a dive trip. The holiday isn't widely celebrated over there so it was fun to see the occasional tropical version of a Christmas tree, or to hear a snatch of a christmas carol.
Jen(at)delux(dot)com

Jacqui R said...

ohh reading JenM's comment made me think of the time when I was an exchange student in Thailand, we went to school on xmas day and they don't celebrate xmas but they did dress up one of the boys in my class (he was a big boy) as Santa and we went around to preschools and sang xmas carols. Ringing my family on that day was a bit sad as it was my first xmas away from home. Wow a trip down memory lane.

ticklebear2 at yahoo dot com

Vivien said...

Every year before opening present I have to read the Christmas Story. Every year, I would stumble at multiple parts. The wording isn't kind to a younger mouth. This year when I was 10 though, I finally got it perfectly. I was so proud of myself.

Vivien
deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Na said...

It sounds like Sugar was and is still very much loved. I'm glad you two found each other in life and the memories you have will last for a very long time. Me and my sister had a doll growing which we took everywhere and gave her clothes and talked to her. She was just like another human to us and adored. We still have :)

Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

night owl in IL said...

I remember that I also had a Mrs. Beasley doll. When I was 3-4 years old, I got a puppy for Christmas (I don't know if I remember it, or if the memory is from a picture that was taken of it).

Thanks for the contest/giveaway.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you & your family.

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}
borg_66@hotmail.com
(sorry if this is a duplicate post - I didn't see my 1st one)

Billie Jo said...

Thank you for sharing a sad but happy memory.

To be honest, I try not to think too much on my childhood and the holidays.

I live through everyone else's wonderful memories of the holidays.

Billie Jo

Llehn said...

I remember being sick one holiday and was unable to join my friends to watch a movie I really wanted to see. So my mom made some popcorn and we curled up on the couch and she watched Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas with me. It was one of the most enjoyable holiday memories I have :D

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tanya said...

My saddest Christmas was the one right after my father died.
rockchick531@gmail.com

Sharon said...

Watching my dad put tinsel on the tree. No one else could do it! Cause it had to be done just right. He did it one strand at a time. It is such a messy thing, but so cool to see with the lights.

Carla said...

Thank you for sharing Dakota!!

I remember one Christmas, when I was about 5, it was snowing and I was playing outside in the yard. My mom was on the front stoop watching me. A woman walked by our house and she had this really tall hat on LOL. I thought it would be cool to try and knock it off her head. Who would have thought that a 5 year old would have such great aim LOL. Well, I knocked the hat right off her head and was so shocked that I did it and then scared shit, that I dove behind a big bush. The lady was looking all around and then looked at my mother who saw everything and was trying not to laugh. My mother shrugged her shoulders like IDK who did it. LOL I will never ever forget that day!!

Carla said...

forgot to leave my email addy - cjgallway21@aol.com

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

Michelle Bledsoe said...

Several years ago we lost my father to a massive heart attack a couple of days after Christmas. I can remember how wonderful that Christmas felt to me. Everyone had commented Christmas Day about how much Christmas spirit they had. Not ever a week later we realized why we had all felt like that. I also noticed months later that my dad was in none of the pictures that day.
The thing I miss the most is going shopping with my dad for his gift to my mom. He always bought her a really special gift.

koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

Allison W said...

A couple years ago we decided to get together, which being adults now is more difficult. It was a great time with the family. one thing I loved was watch my mom beat everyone on the wii in hula hooping, no one could beat her record for over a year!
allison dot westcote at gmail dot com

Jennifer Mathis said...

When my oldest was a toddler ( the first christmas she really understood) she opened her presents and then ran over to everyone to tell them she had pizza ( one of her few words she knew) By the end we had all heard about pizza so much when chased around to friend to find the ingridents so we could make pizza for dinner

meandi09@yahoo.com

Heather said...

The sadest christmas memorie I have wasnt that sad if I think of it in a diff light. I was 14 years old and had another surgery. See I lost my leg when I was 16 but up til then they were trying to save it. Anyways I was stuck in the hopstial and couldnt go home. I still had a christmas with my Dad and twin sister, but when they left to go see the rest of the family I felt alone. Wasnt that bad tho I stll had the nurses. Hahanglin@gmail.com

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

My mom's a single parent and I'm an only child. My mother has also been disabled with a pain disorder since I was in middle school. One Christmas Eve her legs locked up. She couldn't straiten them. I had to call 911 and on the way to the hospital I had to explain to the driver what her pain condition was because he'd never heard of it. We ended up spending the night in the ER. It wasn't too fun.

riverinaromantic@aol.com

Anonymous said...

My very first holiday memory happened when I was just 5 years old. That was the time when my parents introduced me to Santa . Love the feeling when I was anxiously waited for Him and gave him my cookies:). Aretha zhen, aretha_zhen@yahoo.com

llamannerdymom said...

This story really touched me. We had to put down our 13 year old German Shepherd last Saturday. It was her time. It broke my heart to do it, the whole family took it really hard. I decided we needed a little laughter back in our life and I found us a puppy. She is everything a puppy should be. We have laughter again, bittersweet but laughter.

Anonymous said...

this christmas will be the hardest , my hubby died last jan, and first christmas without him and my chilren wihtout their dad


blackroze37@yahoo.com

Dakota Banks said...

To those of you facing an especially difficult time this Christmas: I'm thinking of you and wishing I could smooth things for you. Sending love and sincere wishes for better times your way!

Dakota Banks said...

A winner's been notified and I'm waiting to get confirmation.

Thanks to everyone who participated!