Convention of Statesmen


Christmas Eve So Long Ago

I submitted this article for Yahoo Articles! but it was rejected twice because of the title. They loved the article, but we went round and round in the submitting and re-submitting process until it's past the deadline for a Christmas story. So I decided to share it with my blogging, Facebook and Twitter friends. Why let a good story go to waste!

A Christmas Eve tradition goes awry when my father opens his "one" gift. There was no stopping us then!

Christmas is my favorite time of year. The music, the decorations, and the general feeling of the season just fill me right up. One of my fondest Christmas memories takes me back many years to when I was a small girl. Although my parents are long divorced, and my father long gone from this world, this is still one of my favorite childhood memories.

Christmas is rich with tradition in my family. As I grew to adulthood, I brought these traditions with me, and added some of my own. The one that matters to this story is the opening of a single gift on Christmas Eve in remembrance of the three wise men and the gifts they brought to the newborn King.

As children, we always waited anxiously for evening to fall on December 24th. That year, dinner came and went; it always had to come first, much to our consternation. Then we gathered in the living room, and settled down to listen to our father read the Christmas Story from the New Testament (Luke 2.) In the corner, the gaily decorated Christmas tree stood tall, and the many presents wrapped beneath held our attention over the story.

After the story and song, my mother gave each of us a stern look. Apparently our wiggles made her suspicious there was going to be a mass attack on those presents. So, one by one, she called each of us to pick one gift from under the tree, return to where we'd been sitting and wait quietly as it was repeated with each child. Then it happened. Dad picked up his gift and started shaking it. It was small, and no noise was made. My mother chose her own gift and then gave us the nod.

Now here's a critical part to the story. My biological father had an uncanny ability to shake a gift and then know precisely what was in it. This year, my mother was determined to foil him. So, we now continue with the story.

It wasn't exactly mass mayhem. But wrapping paper was flying one way, ribbons the other, and shouts of joy filled the room. My father opened his gift, and it was a box of 38 caliber bullets. He didn't have a 38 handgun. He took one look at my mother and reached for another gift before she could stop him. Well, we weren't about to be left behind so we all dived for the tree and grabbed another gift.

It happened over and over, until finally my father reached for the last box under the tree. It was large. It rattled. It clunked. It was extremely heavy, and he had a look of disappointment on his face. But he unwrapped the gift, opened the box and found it filled with an iron, marbles, corks, clothes pins, and a brand new 38 pistol. Mom won, mostly, because he hadn't been able to guess. The miscalculation was in wrapping the ammunition separately. 

There weren't any presents to unwrap on Christmas morning that year. But it has always been one of my favorite Christmases.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.
Christmas Eve So Long Ago Christmas Eve So Long Ago Reviewed by Candace Salima on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 Rating: 5