Christmastime with my family always makes me reminisce because we are a reminiscing bunch, we are. We eat and eat and eat and eat until we can't move and we're all groaning because we ate too much and yet, we still pick up a piece of ham or turkey as we hobble through the kitchen and eat that, too. Then we all sit around the table and tell funny stories of relatives who are no longer with us so that the little kids will know how awesome they were. Or we say things like, "Doesn't he look just like his daddy? The spitting image!" That is my favorite part of Christmas, to be honest. We have our family Christmas at my late grandparent's house where my cousin now lives with his family and I watch all the kids now do the same things I used to do when I was their age, like jump off the porch (which was much higher when I was a kid. I frowned in disappointment yesterday as I stood at the edge and realized it only comes up to my thighs), or swing on that old wrought iron swing that has been there for...who knows how long, or climb on top of the old well while my cousins (who, I would like to point out were just as guilty of it when they were kids!) yell at them to get down right now!
My favorite Christmas story by far, though is the day that my parents realized that I was either Damien, the Omen or a young jedi. I like to believe the latter, myself. When I was little, Santa never wrapped our presents. He just left them under the tree so we could marvel in all their sparkly Christmastime glory. It was toy overload! There is not enough candy or sugar in the world to rival the excitement that Christmas morning brought. When I was about five I decided that I just could not wait until Christmas morning to see what Santa had left for me. I crept down the hall while my parents were sleeping soundly, completely unaware of the devious and criminal actions taking place right under their own roof!
Now, at the end of the hallway was the door to the living room which was kept shut to discourage peeping eyes. I was old enough to know that that door might make a sound, so I went around through the kitchen and the dining room and holy cow! Presents everywhere! I was so happy but I was very careful not to actually touch anything. I was so excited that I went out the living room door and scampered back to my room, congratulating myself on being so clever. My curiosity well-fed, I fell asleep immediately. It didn't even seem that long until my brother was telling me to wake up! Santa had been to our house! Little did he know, I already had access to his outdated and now worthless information.
Nevertheless, I joined him in the hallway where my parents stood at the living room door looking very displeased. I had left the door standing wide open! Inwardly, I panicked. I couldn't blame it on my brother because of course, he would deny it and that would put Christmas on hold indefinitely. I needed to come up with something. I needed someone to blame. Someone who could not refute my claim but would still be plausible to my parents. My little mind worked furiously as I put forth my best effort to remain an innocent (lol) five year old girl on the outside.
"Someone went into the living room and peeked at the presents," my mother said with a very serious expression. Things could not have been more serious if I had robbed a bank or kicked a puppy or streaked through the neighborhood singing "Jingle Bells" at the top of my lungs.
"It wasn't me," my brother and I chimed in unison. Years of doing things like setting the living room carpet on fire and drawing smiley faces on the furniture with permanent marker had honed our ability to deny things to the point where we could do it almost before they accused us of doing anything at all. It was a talent. A gift, really.
"Well, it didn't open by itself," she countered. Curse my mother and her logic!
"One of you better confess or we'll all just go back to bed!" my dad said in a much "firmer" voice. My brother looked at me and I could feel hate oozing from him. If I confessed I might not get any of my presents! If I didn't come up with something soon, it would be the same as confessing. It seemed as though years went by as the wheels in my head turned then suddenly, I had it! I looked up at my parents and in my sweetest, most innocent voice I said:
"Maybe Santa left it open." Silence. I was still a little unsure. What if they called Santa and asked him? I knew they had his number because my mother was always threatening to call him. If that happened I was looking at coal in my stocking next Christmas and possibly the Christmas after that. It was risky. Mostly, however I was confident that Santa was a kind old soul (and merry!) and that he would understand the overwhelming curiosity that belongs only to the very young. I maintained my outward appearance of innocence and ignorance while mentally willing my parents to believe it. After a bit, my parents seemed to buy this story and I breathed an inward sigh of relief. Christmas resumed as normal and I had no clue how clever and air-tight my alibi had been until years later when I realized that there was no feasible way that my parents could have called my bluff. To do so, they would have had to explain how it couldn't have been Santa. I wonder if my parents realized at that moment that my gift for bullshitting was already at jedi proportions and my power would only grow from there. Were they afraid?
As it turns out, Santa is a very forgiving old man and has been good to me ever since. Thanks, Santa. ^_^