Anyway, as kids we were allowed to go to the annual Mayor's free Xmas roundup they used to hold at the St. Paul Civic Center (now just dust under the Xcel) where Santa would make a grand entrance with singing Vegas show-girl style elves who gave every kid a rather large stocking of candy and trinkets. The Mayor of St. Paul emceed. Have you ever seen George Latimer dance with a chorus line of scantily dressed and busty elf-ho's? I have.
What my sibs and I were jazzed about instead of Santa:
1. Dad. Home. On Vacation. Two weeks! Dad was never home, and so for a whole 14 days we were out of our skins happy (Mom was too).
2. Tobogganing. Dad always took us on some radical dangerous xtreme tobaggoning trip. What else was he going to do with 14 days on his hands?
3. Mom's kitchen. For days and days it smelled good and produced delectable goodies we never had at any other time of year. Mom was cheerful (again, Dad) and sort of let the housework slide.
4. Cocktail parent. Mom and Dad never really drank, but when they did it was a hoot. Dad would make mom his famous Tom and Jerry batter and set her up in the evening with a hot mug of cheer. There's nothing like hearing your parents downstairs, laughing together, listening to Nat King Cole, when you are kid falling asleep. Pure joy.
5. The twinkle. Lying under the tree in the dark. Lighting the candles. Staring at the electric log in the ornate Victorian fireplace.
6. Visiting relatives and the hustle bustle of our house, since with 4 bedrooms and a couple of spare rooms it was usually the hub for the out-of-towners (including whatever military borhter was home on leave). There were a lot of conversations about snowmobiles, driving conditions, what was happening in the Med.
This is the first year Toe and Roo are really grooving on old Red Fatty coming by with gifts. Using the threat of the naughty list has been a nice little bonus for Mommy--let's just say it's been easier to achieve pre-K compliance around here lately. Their endurance and waiting for big S. has also sparked an increased bortherly bond between Toe and Roo that we haven't seen before. They are discussing the issue with seriousness and regularity, in hushed tones. It's their first attempt at parent-free plotting.
Here is a sampling of the Santa-based convos we have overheard between the boys:
Toe: No, the North Pole is far.
Roo: Whereda norf pole? I go to da norf pole.
Toe: You have to go over mountians and through forests and across a frozen lake.
Roo: It's my turn!
Toe: No, it's not your turn yet, Reuben!
Roo: Gimme it!
Toe: Reuben, you have to be good. Do you want Santa to bring you a dinosaur?
Toe: If you are good and wait your turn, Santa will bring you a dinosaur.
Roo: (sigh). Okay.
Wishing you joy in your own memories. Merry Christmas Eve!