Tag Archives: Santa Claus

Post-Christmas Post

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Christmas is over; Santa has hung up his suit; and I am heading home. We always end up spending Christmas Night at my parents’ house, mainly because we eat so much at Christmas dinner that no one wants to drive home. In years past, we spend time with each other on the day after Christmas, but today, we won’t be doing that. My parents will head to the hospital to check on my mother’s sister, who is in critical condition with H1N1 (swine flu) and ARDS in ICU (the doctors have seen improvement in the last few days, but it’s a slow process). My sisters family has plans of their own. I am rushing home to check on HRH.

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HRH has been acting sickly lately. I think she has a cold, and a cat with a cold is no fun. She’s been coughing and sneezing and occasionally vomiting mucus (she’s part Siamese so vomiting is a regular occurrence with this breed, so that’s not that unusual). However, she’s just not acting herself. I am going to take her to the vet this morning as soon as I can get home. HRH is 15 years old, so I know she is quite elderly for a cat. However, she’s a wonderful companion, even if I’m one of the few living creatures this world that she loves. HRH can be quite cranky with other animals and humans, but since she’s been ill, she hasn’t even bothered the other cats. She’s always here when I need her, and I am quite worried about her.

So on this day after Christmas, I ask for your prayers for my aunt to recover from her illness, my sister (who is 3 mos. pregnant) to continue to have a healthy pregnancy, and HRH to be feeling much better soon and to return to her cranky old lady status.


A Visit From St. Nicholas

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I have to admit, that Christmas Eve in my household growing up was never an especially fun time. The reason for Christmas Eve not being especially fun was because we had to go to my maternal grandparent’s house for Christmas Eve, and then as soon as we opened gifts we had to go to my paternal grandmother’s family Christmas party. My father was always ill-tempered because we would always arrive late to the second party and he blamed it all on my mother. This made for a really uncomfortable ride between the two parties. My father hates being late, and sees another Christmas party as not a good excuse. My father could be a real jackass at times, and every Christmas Eve we had to hear him bitch and complain. Then as soon as we got home from the second party, it was off to bed, so that “Santa Claus” could come. I always hated trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. Even on a good night, I have never been one to simply lay my head down and go to sleep, and with the anticipation of Christmas morning, Christmas Eve night was never an easy night to go to sleep, but I always did, and never once heard my parents (yes, contrary to yesterday’s post, I knew it was them) putting the presents under the tree.

However, there was one thing that I loved about Christmas Eve. It was the night that Santa Claus would be coming to visit. I have always loved Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” and so I wanted to share it with you for my Christmas Eve post.

A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

By the way, did you know that “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was not the only poem that Moore wrote about Santa Claus. He wrote another one, that I had never read until recently called “Old Santeclaus.” I hope that you enjoy it as well.

Old Santeclaus
by Clement Clark Moore

Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night,
O’er chimney-tops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you.

The steady friend of virtuous youth,
The friend of duty, and of truth,
Each Christmas eve he joys to come
Where love and peace have made their home.

Through many houses he has been,
And various beds and stockings seen;
Some, white as snow, and neatly mended,
Others, that seemed for pigs intended.

Where e’er I found good girls or boys,
That hated quarrels, strife and noise,
I left an apple, or a tart,
Or wooden gun, or painted cart.

To some I gave a pretty doll,
To some a peg-top, or a ball;
No crackers, cannons, squibs, or rockets,
To blow their eyes up, or their pockets.

No drums to stun their Mother’s ear,
Nor swords to make their sisters fear;
But pretty books to store their mind
With knowledge of each various kind.

But where I found the children naughty,
In manners rude, in temper haughty,
Thankless to parents, liars, swearers,
Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers,

I left a long, black, birchen rod,
Such as the dread command of God
Directs a Parent’s hand to use
When virtue’s path his sons refuse.


Christmas Tradition

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Today I’d my first weekday off in my sixteen day vacation. Of course, being the drama club advisor, I don’t really get the holiday off since we will be rehearsing for our play in January. I have to go in at 9 am and we will practice until about noon.

For most people, December 23rd is just another day. It’s not yet Christmas Eve; it’s not Christmas Day; nor is it the day for the after Christmas sales. However, through all of my years growing up, this was the night of my immediate family’s Christmas. The dinner on the 23rd was the most special of the year. We got out the fine china and silverwear and set the table just as etiquette describes. My mother was a believer in knowing what silverwear to use when. We would have a candlelight dinner usually of what we considered fancy foods in my house: shrimp cockatiels, followed by Cornish game hens, mashed potatoes with gravy (my personal favorite), broccoli in cheese sauce, and homemade yeast rolls. We would also have sparkling cider or grape juice to drink while my parents had champagne. Dessert would always be a cheesecake that my mother made. At the beginning of dinner either my sister or I would read Luke Chapter 2 before the blessing was said for the food.

After we had eaten, we would then open presents. By the way, there was a different set of presents from Santa Claus on Christmas morning when my father would make breakfast and our grandparents would come to see what we got from Santa. Then we would open presents from them. But December 23rd was our special day as a family. After presents were opened on the 23rd, my mother would read us two stories: “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

The tradition began to change a little as we got older. We didn’t read the stories after dinner anymore. But the tradition continued mostly intact until my sister got married. Her in-laws did not have traditions like we did, and were jealous. They liked to schedule their Christmas on December 23rd to mess with ours. When we tried to move it, they did the same. This juggling of dates went on for the first five years of my sister’s marriage. Finally, my mother changed ours permanently to Christmas Night, and she stood firm about it. My sister’s in-laws finally acquiesced, and our family Christmas has been on Christmas Night for the past 10 years. It’s not the same as it used to be. We have most of the same foods, but now we have a ham, turkey, and dressing in addition to all of the others except the Cornish hens. Also, I usually do the cooking these days instead of my mother. We have real wine and champagne to drink. We also don’t use the fine china anymore, but generally Christmas china that doesn’t have to be hand washed, like the real china. We also have three more people than we used to have: my single aunt, my brother-in-law, and my wonderful niece.

It’s one of the few times we all get together as just us with no other family, so it is still very special, even if it’s not the tradition we used to have.

Did you or does your family have any special traditions that you’d like to share in the comments?