A Christmas Story by: Charlie Wardle
December has got to be one of the slowest months of the year. It seem like it takes Christmas forever to get here.
Our family always started celebrating Christmas early. Right after Thanksgiving is over we all start thinking about Christmas. A week after Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree goes up.
During the evenings of December our family loves to gather around the Christmas tree to watch the lights on it. With the white snow outside, and all the lights in the house off, except, for the lights on the Christmas tree, the glow on the lights on the tree make the room very peaceful.
It is at this time the family would like to tell Christmas stories of the past. I was five when this story happened, the youngest of the family. Our family was living in Hyrum, Utah, while my dad was going to school in Denver.
With my mom being pregnant, my dad was the only one in the family, who could put up the Christmas tree. For us kids, not having our Christmas tree up was just terrible. All of our friends had their tree up, but not us. Some of us kids started wondering if we might miss Christmas this year, because we knew Santa Couldn’t find us if we didn’t have a tree.
We begged and pleaded with Mom several times to put the tree up. She would just say, “Dad will be home before Christmas, he will put it up when he gets home.” It seemed like it took forever for Dad to get home. A couple of days before Christmas Dad did come home.
On Christmas Eve, we as a family went out to buy our tree. We kids were wondering if there would be any trees left. Dad said, teasing us, “If we can’t find a Christmas tree, we’ll just have to use Mom’s flower plant instead of a tree.” All us kids started whining. We didn’t want a flower plant, we wanted a Christmas tree.
When we got to the tree place, to our surprise, there were a lot of trees left, and they were all half off, which made Mom and Dad happy. All us kids ran over to the biggest and fluffiest tree there, telling mom and dad we wanted that one. Mom and Dad didn’t like it though because there was a small part on it with no branches. We kids begged and pleaded until Mom and Dad bought it. Dad also fought a few extra branches to cover up the hole. We loaded the tree into the trunk of the car and headed for home to get that tree up before Santa got there.
When we got home, Dad put the tree in the garage to drill the holes for the branches and spray the snow on it. We kids enjoyed watching Dad do this. We made good and sure that Dad hurried so we could get the lights and bulbs on it before Santa got there.
When Dad got done he brought the tree in and set it in front of the big window in the front room. All us kids grabbed some bulbs to put them on the tree. But Dad stopped us, telling us that the lights went on first. Sara, the oldest of us kids, grabbed the Santa Claus face which had a light in it, to put on the top of the tree. Then Sara, Connie, Weldon and Bill, all the kids that were big enough to reach the top of the tree, helped Dad put the lights up high, while I helped at the bottom of the tree. We then put the bulbs on the tree, being the littlest, I did the ones on the bottom of the tree while my brothers and sisters did the ones up higher. Soon the tree was all done. We all stepped back to watch, while Sara plugged in the lights; the whole tree lit up very bright and beautiful.
We were now ready for Christmas. All of us went and got our presents we had bought each other, and set them under the tree.
Mom had some nice hot chocolate for us which tasted real nice on that cold winter night.
Whenever we kids could, we would sneak over to the tree to see if we could find a present that belonged to us. When we found one of our own, we could shake it and squeeze it to try to figure out what was inside it. When Mom would see us feeling packages, she would say “now kids leave those alone before you break one—and get away from that tree before you knock the tree over.”
Then the begging would start, “Mom can we please open one up tonight?” We kept on begging until she would give in. We then had the big decision; which one do I open? Which one is the best? We would carefully pick out the one that we wanted to open. The one that I opened was a GI Joe doll. Right after we opened our presents Mom and Dad would send us all off to bed.
Christmas Eve was the hardest night there was to fall asleep. I remember just falling to sleep when I heard a noise upstairs. I thought to myself, “Santa is here.” I waited for about five minutes, and then I started for the upstairs to see what I got. About half way up I heard my daddy say “Back to bed!” I asked him, “Has Santa come yet?” My dad replied “No! And he won’t come until you get to sleep.” I went back to bed, and lay there until I fell to sleep.
About four in the morning, Weldon and Bill came to me, saying that Santa had come, Santa had come! Hearing that I jumped right out of bed, ran up the stairs to see that Santa had found our house, and brought us lots of toys.