“I think I hear sleigh bells,” my dad would say every Christmas. We’d scurry to our bedrooms and pretend to be fast asleep. Being the oldest of four, I knew Dad was the one who went outside and attempted to make reindeer tracks in the dirt. We didn’t have a fireplace, so Santa had to come in through the door. The important thing was that he came.
How my mom and dad managed to give us such joy and the very thing we wanted when the raft shop where my dad worked at the local air force base paid ninety cents an hour. We thought we were in hog heaven when he brought home the canned rations every now and then. Each one had a candy inside, and the crackers weren’t bad either. I can’t recall a Christmas that didn’t put a permanent smile on my face and joy in my heart.
Although Dad was Jewish and didn’t believe in the reason for the season, he was always the first to shake the presents beneath the tree. We always vowed to wait until Christmas morning to open gifts, but he was the culprit behind the “let’s open just one.”
Sure, one turned into two, and before we knew it, we sat amongst opened boxes and a landslide of wrapping paper, happy with what we’d received, but disappointed that once again we’d failed to wait until morning. So the tradition continues. Christmas eve is our time to celebrate, and I’m always urged on by my father’s voice in my head, telling me now from heaven, “just open one. What harm can it do?” Oh, we still have our Christmas dinner on the day of, and as a Christian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus, and I will be forever thankful for the parents he gave me.
We weren’t rich in the financial sense, but in love we were millionaires. I’d give anything to have one of those Christmas Eves over again, and hear my Dad’s voice for real. He’s been gone for over twenty years now, but if you’re listening Daddy, your little girl loves you with all that she is, and I miss you still. You’ll always be in my heart, and in your honor, I’ll always open just one on Christmas Eve…or maybe all.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you.