By Holly Holt
Editor’s note: We offer part of Holly’s article for our website readers. Our subscribers can access her full article in our Subscriber’s forum and in our print issue, coming in mid December. Starting January 1, 2020, all new articles will be available, open access, on our website.
“When I was a child, Christmas happened on Christmas Eve. Mom, dad, sister, and I piled into the car and drove around the empty streets looking for Rudolf’s nose. I remember the silence illuminated by twinkling Christmas trees in windows and the slow, steady headlamps of whatever Chrysler dad was driving that year. But we were looking for the special light. The red one. Since we lived beneath the flight path of the San Jose airport, it was not hard to find red blinking lights in the sky. Every year the question remained, “Which one is Rudolf’s nose?” It didn’t matter. My sister, Jenny, and I usually pointed one out and exclaimed, “There it is!” Mom and dad always answered with, “Let’s drive around a bit more, look at the neighborhood Christmas lights to give Santa time to bring your presents.” We did not complain because we knew that gifts were waiting under the tree when we returned home. It was like magic.
The whole thing felt pretty special because, unlike my friends, we received our presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. This, I learned later, was part of our Scandinavian tradition. Was it because Sweden was closer to the North Pole? I didn’t ask. Neither did my sister. We delighted in presents on Christmas Eve and, mysteriously, stockings on Christmas morning. Were we so special that Santa Claus visited twice in one night? Who knew? It was tradition, and my sister for one, LOVED it.
The fact is, my sister has always been an advocate of tradition, especially the holiday variety. It brings her a certain kind of comfort and, dare I say, joy. She, the lone extrovert in the family, was a girl who slung one of mom’s old purses over her arm, asked for a clipboard, and took on the role of cruise director for all holidays. She was going to make sure that our holidays were going to be FUN. No way she was going to let us fritter away our days reading quietly or, god forbid, sleeping in.
“It’s tradition!” she exclaimed every Christmas morning as she woke me up as early as can be. She dragged me out of bed and knocked on our parent’s closed bedroom door.
Christmas stars: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Presents under tree: Pexels from Pixabay
Christmas ornament: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Closed door: Arek Socha from Pixabay
Holly Holt is a writer/ storyteller with a deep devotion to practices that heal the body and wake up the mind. For most of the early 2000s, she was a performing singer/songwriter who recorded a well received CD of original music. Currently, she is working on a novel, teaches yoga, blogs, and leads Word Gathering Writing Circles in Sacramento, CA.