Monday, December 16, 2013

Tis the Season

Santa Phil
Amazing that it is December 16th........2013!
This year... and the past 40 have whizzed by.

Turn back the clock to the '60's and I was the kid who couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve because of the excitement of the next day. I would do just about anything to prove to Santa that I should be on the "Nice" list and deserved special attention for my clean room and good behavior. I remember jumping into the family station wagon every year and driving around the neighborhood to admire the festive Christmas lights and decorations. As we got older, we ditched the station wagon and headed out on foot -caroling and collecting money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. We caroled and collected so much that our school won the Farkelberry Award for most money collected!

My mom would make me Festive Christmas skirts of red felt, holiday cutouts, beads, sequins and anything else you jam on a piece of felt---they were works of art and the envy of many little girls at Boyd Elementary School.  When I outgrew the skirts (which was only twice), they were re-purposed as Christmas tree skirts.

I fondly remember our Christmas trees...red and gold ornaments and hundreds of white paper stars that my mom made by cutting, weaving and folding notebook paper. The ornaments never changed or altered. Our trees were probably no larger than 6' tall, but to me they were gigantic, magical and PERFECT.

My mom was quite the homemaker (that's what mom's were called back then). She knit all of our Christmas stockings (there were 2 of us). (Perhaps that's where my love of Christmas stockings started). Each year, the stockings would contain the following staples:  Scotch tape, toothpaste and underpants, as well as a few treats.

I remember decorating (overdecorating) Christmas Sugar Cookies and getting our annual Fruitcake from Dr. H. These items were left on a plate for Santa along with a glass of Scotch, Santa might need a little pick me up.

In the morning, we were allowed to dump out the contents of our Christmas stockings. There were few surprises---tape, Crest, underpants--but it was still thrilling!

We had to wait until everyone woke up before the all important present opening. It never failed that my father would come down with a cold, stomach ailment or the Hong Kong flu on Christmas Eve and require extra rest on Christmas morning.

The present opening took all of about 5 minutes, but it was the most exciting 5 minutes of the year! We had the rest of the day to enjoy our gifts and look through the big basket of Christmas cards-reading each update- and then it was off to my Mom's Friend, Helen's house for Christmas Dinner.

Over the years, the traditions would alter but overdecorating Sugar Cookies, tape, toothpaste and underpants remain. I have the memories of Christmasses past to fill in the voids.

The magic of Christmas still exists, but over the years, I have come to embrace the "Reason for the Season" more than the trees, lights, stockings, gifts and baking. I am more of a quiet observer than an active participant.

In the past few years, the "Magic of Christmas" moment, the moment when you let yourself enjoy "This Most Wonderful Time of Year" comes when I walk through Mary Schmidt's front door! Her husband, Jim "Santaman" Schmidt, LOVES Santa Claus and has been collecting them and carving them out of wood for years.  His Santa collection gets put on display every December and the Schmidts are kind enough to allow Knitwits to tour their Santa packed home.

The display is AMAZING--words alone cannot describe the experience. It is a major undertaking for Jim, months of unpacking, lighting, wiring, hanging,.....followed by months of packing, unwiring...
Santaman has hinted that this will be the last year for the full-out display.

This photo is of ONE CORNER of ONE ROOM- the whole house is filled!

This year, the Santa Tour is this Sunday, December 22nd.
RSVP at the shop--you won't want to miss this opportunity.
Bring family (young and old) to the shop, enjoy Hot Cocoa and Cookies and we'll take you over to Santaland and bring you back.