Nostalgia. Comes from two Greek words meaning a longing for home. Probably Christmas brings out more nostalgia than any other time of the year. According to the New York Times, nostalgia is good for us.
I’ve been sharing nostalgic photos of vintage decorations and ornaments with those of you who subscribe to my weekly Magical Memoir Moments (just enter your email address in the box on the right if you want to join us). Linda Gartz, an online friend, shared a story so delightful that I’ve asked her to share it with all of you. Linda was kind enough to review Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World recently. Here’s the link.
First, a little background on Linda. She’s a documentary film producer and freelance writer turned memoirist. After she found an amazing cache of letters, a translator for the ancient German script, and an audience through her blog, she became a “family archaeologist.” Isn’t that a great phrase?
Today Linda is sharing on her blog the story she told me in response to my Magical Memoir Moments question two weeks ago: “What do you remember?”
Here’s her answer:
On Christmas Eve, Dad pulled out the sleigh bells from the closet. “When Santa finishes putting out all the gifts, he’ll shake these sleigh bells as a signal that he’s done. Then, we have to give him a few minutes to leave. It we see Santa, we destroy the magic, and he won’t come back.”
I had two brothers, one three years older, Paul, and one almost five years younger, Billy. We watched Dad lay out the leather strap, festooned with fat brass bells, festively jingling, and exchanged gleeful smiles.
No going to bed for us to wait for Santa! When he arrived, we would be right here, ears pricked for the jingle of sleigh bells. We weren’t like those dumb kids who had to wake up in the morning to find piles of gifts. No wonder they had no faith and didn’t believe in Santa!
It was obvious that while they slept, their parents just pulled stashes of gifts out of hiding to place under the tree. Santa would come while every relative and close friend was right in front of our eyes.
But now the tree was empty beneath. Closing my eyes, I imagined the brightly colored packages piled at its base. I grabbed Dad’s hand and skipped across the room at his side, twirling and babbling about Santa.
We passed through the doorway that separated our living room from the long hallway leading into the dining room. Dad closed the door to the living room, shutting out Christmas behind us. He then bent over to talk to us quietly, his tone impishly serious. “We can’t open that door until ten minutes after the sleigh bells ring. If we see Santa, he might not come back.”
Read the rest at Linda’s blog. And while you are there, wish her a Merry Christmas and check out the amazing collection of stories and letters at her site.
Stuart and I are off to New Jersey in twenty-four hours. Then we’ll visit Mother in Pennsylvania and then host all our children and grandchildren at our house. The Santa hat and boots will get a good workout.