“Why DID Santa Come to Pike Street at 7:30?”



It’s a beautifully sunny 52 degrees in Middle Tennessee this morning. I’m drinking coffee from my favorite Pottery Barn Christmas mug and listening to “The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas”- on vinyl.

Christmas is the only time in the “long calendar of the year” when I will willingly listen to the likes of Dolly Parton, Elvis and The Beach Boys- as long as they are crooning their favorite Christmas songs.

Dickens seems to be my go-to author this time of year. This morning as I sit on my comfy sofa, the “A Christmas Carol” scene in which Scrooge squeals “I’m as giddy as a school girl” seems apropos. As non-traditional as it may seem, my mental picture includes the Jim Carrey animated version of our favorite curmudgeon.

I AM giddy this time of year!

I love the crisp feel in the air. I love the turning leaves. I love the scent of wood-burning fires.

I may even bake a pumpkin pie today…no, really, I might!

I don’t know about you, but I’m already planning my Christmas decor. I was thrilled one day this week to walk out of my office and into a conversation among co-workers concerning real vs fake trees. One co-worker said that at my urging she bought a real tree last year and LOVED it!  She will likely never go back. And furthermore, she was encouraging someone else to do the same.

There is just something so traditional and familiar about walking into your home and being greeted by the scent of a fresh Douglas Fir. I’ll never forget the year we had a tree so large we had to finish decorating it from the second floor landing. It was, in a word, glorious!

This morning as I explained to my 5 year old Shih Tzu what a “record” was and why we have to flip it over (what? you don’t talk to your dog this way??) I remembered where I used to buy my records as a kid. We had a mall in our area, but as a young kid, we didn’t go there often. Most of our shopping time was spent in K-Mart or GC Murphy. Both had restaurants, but GC Murphy had a lunch counter. One of my most enjoyable childhood Christmas memories is of sitting at that lunch counter after the Christmas parade, drinking hot chocolate.

We lost our Grandparents ten years ago. My Grandfather passed in May and Grandma in September. We grieved. We grieved deeply. My grandparents were more like parents to me and most of my sisters. I didn’t know how we could celebrate Christmas that year. I was fairly certain I wouldn’t feel the joy of the holiday as I always had. They were such a big part of our celebrations.

As I try to type this, my eyes have begun to well with tears. I remember a Fall day much like this one, ten years ago, when through the grief I felt that old familiar stirring. My grief had not taken my child-like love of the season.

I was incredibly relieved. My grandparents were such a huge part of why I loved Christmas. Like riding around in the station wagon singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve and running up the front walk to peer into the huge picture window to find that Santa had come. Funny, but I don’t ever remember questioning why Santa came to Pike Street at 7:30 pm on Christmas Eve.

I can’t fully explain how happy I was to find that my memories of my wonderful (there isn’t really a descriptor “grand” enough) grandparents had broken through the grief and enabled us to enjoy the holidays just a few short months after their passing.

Memories are powerful.

That may be a masterpiece of understatement.

Memories are what make Christmas so special to us crazy Christmas people!

Sure, I’m looking forward to all the fun times I will have this year. I am looking forward to our annual Christmas Eve dinner at Dad’s and Christmas morning eating McHappy’s donuts and opening mounds of gifts at Mom’s house. I can’t wait to take Alex, Zach and Jen to New York the day after Christmas. I’m excited about the holiday plans I have with my friends in Nashville before I head home for Christmas. And I’m looking even further into the future to Christmas NEXT year with my newest little niece or nephew (due in April).

But, Christmas isn’t Christmas without our memories.

As Scrooge said:

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.”


Until next time…

Merry Christmas Today and Every Day!

Aunt Zip



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