Saturday night into Sunday morning and all the day through, was our Christmas family celebration. A couple of weeks early, but it was like none of us knew. The stockings hung by the chimney full of Santa’s surprising treasures, our fireplace glowed with popping yuletide logs, and snowflakes fell from dove grey skies with wet white wonder.
As a special gift to me, my grown children snuggled under mistletoe comforters so I wouldn’t miss a thing when the eyes of wonder spied the first of Santa’s magic under the tree. A heavenly child, she slept in red and white stripes within her crib, somewhere within baby-doll land. At first tip-toed glance, it was almost hard to find her there. Oh, there she was! The angel face wearing reindeer pajamas all cuddled into a ball. She slept so peacefully, like God had cast His spell.
When morning came and we heard her first cries, everyone was, ‘oh-so-tired.’ Still, I couldn’t wait for the fun to begin! After my her mother’s calming hugs and kisses, I bundled my grand-daughter into my arms to slip her down the still dark hallway. Soon we plopped down on my great big bed, where “Grandpa” slept. She listened to his snores, poked his closed eyes, and pinched his cheeks. He might as well have been a mountain in the west, the way she climbed up on his chest. She pulled his chin and grabbed his nose. “Get up!” she jumped and said. I told her stories of “Doodles,” our fluffy white dog who guarded her closed safe door while she dreamed of Santa Claus. She giggled and “sniffed,” putting her nose up in the air, and “barked” like him too! Then it was time to see the twinkling lights of the tree and what was new from the night before.
Her mother and dad waited by the entrance to the “Christmas Room” as I held her in my arms. When the cameras were at the right angles (or so we hoped) I let “Gracie-Girl” down to see where she would run. What surprises would Santa have delighted her with the most? She squealed and jumped in the air a full foot off the ground with joy! Toys were everywhere and all around the tree. Yet she saw only one. A single small shape among them all that she zeroed in on within three seconds at the most. She pulled and yanked, then snuggled it to her small chest. There it rested, the whole day through.
An inexpensive rubber baby doll with a molded curl atop its bald head. Santa’s present that meant the most to her of all.