‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

When I was a child, we were always allowed to open one present on Christmas eve. We weren’t allowed to choose which one–no, no–that was for our parents to choose. My sister and I both knew they wouldn’t give us the best gifts early, but we would wait, every year, with eager anticipation, hoping to get a nice gift, a fun gift, a useful gift… on Christmas eve.

Almost every year (with the exception of one, which I’ll talk about later), we got underwear on Christmas eve.

Yes, little girl panties.

one year, I got underwear with the days of the week on them. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There were no Sunday undies. Just six pairs of girly panties with the days of the week on them. Looking at it now, there’s something really wrong about there not being any Sunday underwear. I mean, a friend of mine said it was because of religion, Christianity and all, with Sunday being the day of the Lord. So… uhm, what? Women don’t wear underwear to church on Sundays? Somehow, that seems counter to the Christian perspective, no?

One year, when I was about three or four, I remember getting panties with little rows of lace on them. Seriously, those were the most uncomfortable pairs of panties I’ve ever worn!

Anyway, my point is, every year we would wait with anticipation. Every year, Christmas eve, we’d be let down again, only to unwrap our packages of underwear. On a good Christmas eve, we might also get socks.

Whoohoo!

But that isn’t what’s really important. What’s important is, the same thing happened every year, and yet, we, with our childlike wonder, never stopped hoping against hope that THIS year, we would get a better Christmas eve gift. We always looked at the packages our parents handed us and dreamed of what wonders they might hold. Not once did we as children stop to consider that every year the package was underwear and that every year it would be the same.

Until that one year…

That was when I knew the magic of Christmas was gone for me. It wasn’t that I’d discovered Santa Claus was make believe–he’s not, he’s real, I’ve met him–it wasn’t that I outgrew childish dreams of magic moments and miracles–’cause I still believe in them too–and it wasn’t that I was too grown up to enjoy the thrill of the holidays.

Nope… Christmas lost its sparkle for me when I was about eleven or twelve years old. That’s how long it took for me to finally realize that the present my parents would give me on Christmas eve was going to be underwear.

So on Christmas eve that year, my child-like wonder gone, I watched in anticipation as my sister, who is about three years younger than I am, bounced up and down all excited, still hoping beyond hope that the Christmas eve single gift would be something wonderful and when my parents handed her the package, I mumbled, “Why bother opening it. It’s just going to be underwear…”

And I was right. It was underwear. Then my mother handed me my present.

I sighed and rolled my eyes as a pre-teen/teen so often does in the presence of their parents, and begrudingly ripped open my package of under—

Wait a minute.

Underwear is soft. There’s something hard under that paper. I rip the paper back and inside is a package of barettes, you know, hairclips, with pretty colored clips and a couple with ornate metal designs. This was not underwear. This was something I wanted! I loved playing with my hair! I loved wearing barrettes! FINALLY! A Christmas eve present I could enjoy!

I said my polite and obligatory thank yous to my parents. After all, I was a good child. My sister, and I still have the picture of this to this day, was posing for my father’s camera, wearing absolutely nothing but her new pink satin underwears. Child Protective Services would probably call that child porn today, but my sister was proud of her pink undies. I have a picture of my daughter, naked, three years old, wearing a bolo hat on her head and posing right after getting out of the tub. I keep it hidden, but I figure some day I might need it for blackmail, when she gets rich and famous, you know.

My point? Not sure I ever have one. I guess that what I’m trying to say here is, for my sister, satin pink underwear was still part of the Christmas magic, and for me, who had lost faith that year in the magic, Santa decided I needed hairclips more than I needed underwear. The magic returned, and I never did get underwear for Christmas again. Shoot, maybe that’s why I hate wearing underwear today! They are so… unmagical!

But little did I know how much this would stay with me, so that, I, too, gave my children underwear as their one Christmas eve gift. Ah, tradition.

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers, my friends, my family, my family of choice, and my loved ones all around the world tonight. Blessings, love, light, laughter and friendship to each and every one of you. My thoughts and prayers go out tonight to everyone who cannot be with their family–those in the hospital, those off overseas, those living alone, those who are homeless, those who are fighting in wars they don’t understand, those in the armed forces, and those who simply are doing everything they can to just get by, one day at a time. We are all there with you. We will all always be there with you. Everyone is connected. Everyone is part of everyone else…

As the song I posted the lyrics to on Facebook says, this time of year, so many people smile and grin and pretend to be kind….

“If our kindness
This day is just pretending
If we pretend long enough
Never giving up
It just might be who we are ”

 

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5 comments to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

  • Buffy  says:

    Merry Christmas, Michy! I grew up always going somewhere else on Christmas Day, so Christmas Eve was when my parents allowed us to open all our gifts! Of course, they also liked to sleep in… and they learned early on that excited children would wake them at the first hint of a glimmer of morning sun. They made a deal with Santa Claus. We would always go see Christmas lights after supper and Santa would arrange to come and deliver gifts and fill stockings while we were gone. Amazingly, Santa never ever missed! So we’d come home from seeing all the beautiful lights all over town and discover what gifts Santa had left! That worked out well for my folks because they could sleep in on Christmas Day while we played quietly with our gifts!

    To this day, I open my family gifts on Christmas Eve and always enjoy Santa’s magic appearance after supper! He’s a very discreet fellow. He manages to come and go through the chimney without ever letting me catch him, even when I’m just in the kitchen!

    And the most magical gift is that I do try to carry Christmas with me every day of the year… so yes, maybe it is who we become, it might be who we are…

    Blessings, Love, and Light!

  • Jennifer Walker  says:

    Merry Christmas, my dear friend! May the magic live on. 🙂

  • Derek Odom  says:

    Nice entry! Mmm, no underwear… LOL! 🙂 🙂

  • Magena  says:

    I used to have the Monday through Saturday underwear. Some traditions should definitely die!! lol

  • Beth  says:

    I’d be delighted to get undies for Christmas now, just so they’re cute. :O)

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