Christmas Writing Challenge #3: Me + The Big Guy in a Red Suit
for Kendell,

Christmas Writing Challenge #4: December Activities

Writing prompt: What activities and experiences did you have during December that made it feel like Christmas to you?

Sometimes when I've sat down to write the journaling for layouts about my kids' Christmases, I've remembered that the holidays are so much more than just Christmas Day. All the activities before the day itself make you feel it, and even those lazy, post-Christmas days are full of it, when you just hang out in pajamas, eating left-over fudge and caramel and cheeseball with fancy crackers, using your new Christmas stuff. I think it's important to write about those things, too.

I'm hoping my sister Becky will respond to this prompt, because I seem to have forgotten lots of our December activities. Maybe we didn't have many? I remember the cousin Christmas parties very clearly. We'd all draw names and bring little gifts, and Santa always came. My clearest memory of those parties was of receiving a doll from someone---when I was 11 or 12. I remember being so frustrated that no one saw me as grown up yet. I remember lots of baking and candy making; putting up the tree; going to the candy sale at the Elk's Lodge. All of those activities were fun, of course, but what really made it feel like Christmas to me was snooping.

Yep, I was a snoop. Starting about October, I'd begin visiting all of the hiding places I knew my mom used: underneath the tarp on the boat in the garage, the corners of her closet and under her bed, the downstairs storage rooms, the coat closet. I don't think that, from the age of eight onward, I received more than ten gifts I'd not already snooped out. Part of me knew I was ruining the surprise, but honestly: the fun of snooping was worth the exchange. I didn't just find my gifts, either. I knew what my sisters were getting, too, although I didn't ever spoil the surprise for them (I hope---did I, Becky?). On Christmas morning, I'd tick of a mental list as each gift was opened. The frustration came in when all the gifts were unwrapped---and there was still something crucial my mom had forgotten about. One of the perils of being a snoop was knowing exactly where the forgotten gift was and not being able to say a word about it. (Generally my mom would find those gifts about March or August of the next year.)

Here I am at one of the cousins' parties, age nine or ten, wearing those awful ringlets my mom insisted on. How I hated ringlets! I loved that dress, though. Maybe I am looking down to hide my guilty conscience from Santa's all-knowing eyes?Amy21_santa_edit

Resolution: Today I caught Haley snooping. This is the first year I've not had somewhere to lock up the Christmas gifts, so I think this is her first year of snooping. Luckily she's not found my best hiding place (I know this because it's almost impossible for me to open the door to this spot, and I'm certain she's not strong enough to get it open). It reminded me of the secret life of children, how their parents think they know their kids but they also have all these other, secret facets of themselves. My resolution is to move most of the gifts into that good hiding spot tomorrow---but I also think I'll leave a few here and there for her to discover. After all, snooping feels like Christmas!



I am thinking about when Nicky Snow and I found your cabbage patch doll in the junk room and came and got you. You sneak, you probably had already found it and just pretended to be surprised, didn't you!

Hopefully I'll get a post in today. I've got one brewing...


Another challenge answered! Thanks, Amy. :-)

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