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Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child? I don’t know if I did. I remember picking out a lot of my own Christmas gifts, but that was when I was older. My earliest memory (I think) was a snowy night in Detroit. It was my parents, my little brother, and me. We lived with my grandmother then. It was nighttime and the side street we lived on was covered with snow. There was only car tracks up and down the road with nothing shoveled or plowed; the snow was deep. I remember the snow covered street because that evening, Christmas Eve, my parents took my brother and I down the street to the hardware store before they closed. They bought us a wagon. A shiny red wagon. They pulled us home in it down that snowy street through the car tracks. It wasn’t easy to pull two kids in a wagon through the snow.

I don’t know if my parents believed in surprises. Wrapping my own Christmas gifts, and putting them under the tree was really the only way I knew Christmas at my house. I did it many times, and my mom did the same thing with her gifts even after us kids grew up and left home. She said that way she could choose
her own gift. Christmas morning was never a surprise at my house as a child. Christmas at my aunt and uncles was always different. We visited early and always had surprise gifts to unwrap. I watched as my cousins opened gift after gift and were surprised at each one. I envied them. I felt like Santa came to their house and not mine. I loved being at their house, whether it was Christmas or not.

Did I carry on that tradition with my own kids? Not at all. Everything was wrapped and nothing got opened until Christmas morning. Everything was a surprise for my boys and everyone else. And they believed in Santa Claus. I encouraged them to believe in Santa. We’d go to the mall and have pictures taken with the jolly man in a red suit.

When we grew up, on Christmas Eve my brother and I always took our families to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was then we got to unwrap surprise gifts. I don’t know the reason behind us picking out our own Christmas gifts as children. I suppose it was something my parent’s agreed on and figured we would get what we wanted that way.

But, times changed when they became grandparents. The grandchildren had fun times at their house, and we did too. Even though all the kids are grown now and grandma and grandpa are both gone, I still carry many Christmas memories. Maybe they were different but Christmas was still Christmas. We still had gifts and food and love.

I had step-grandchildren for a time and Christmas with them was a joy, exciting, and filled with love. It was the true meaning of Christmas to see the sparkle in their eyes. When the day comes that I have my own
grandchildren, they will know surprises and believe Santa Claus brought them. Of course they’ll always have their own Christmas memory of Grandma’s love.

Blessings to you all. Have a wonderful Holiday Season.

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