Our three children slept pretty peacefully those Christmas Eve nights when they were little. I remember telling them that they needed to go to sleep so Santa could come. My Mom told me that too when I was little, and it worked. I wish I could have followed that advice – I was too excited to see how our little children would react to what Santa had left for them – so my Christmas Eve nights as a Mom to our young kids were spent tossing and turning! I wanted my children to keep special memories of gifts from Santa in their minds like I do.
I remember being little and removing the Christmas wrapping to find a small toy that looked like a radio. I turned the dial, and the toy radio played “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The pictures revolved around on a little screen in the front as the tune played. The pictures told the story of Mary and her lamb. My Mom said the gift was from Santa. I wondered why Santa left me a toy – I didn’t even know him!
I hope our children will remember how their Dad made sure that they left out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. We left a plate of cookies right by the fireplace. The children thought Santa would like the sugar cookies the best, and, of course, Santa had to have a peanut blossom cookie too. Mike also made sure that we left some carrots for Rudolph.
Christmas mornings I lay in bed quietly waiting to hear the pitter patter of our children’s little feet. The kids took turns every year coming into our bedroom. Sometimes it depended on who was the youngest at the time.
One Christmas morning, Laura came into our bedroom to tell us that she heard Santa’s sleigh on our rooftop that night when she was starting to fall asleep. That made me even more excited to see what Santa left.
“Mommy, can we go look to see what Santa left for us?” each one would say over the years. We sometimes had to wait patiently for the other children to wake up. While we waited, we cuddled together. Since they kept asking when we could go look, it wasn’t very long until we woke up the sleepy heads in the house to remind them what day it was.
The first thing we did was to go to the fireplace to see if Santa took any of the cookies. Sometimes Santa ate all the cookies and sometimes he just left a cookie with a bite out of one or the other. Then we commented on how hungry or how much a hurry Santa must have been in depending on how the cookies looked. No matter how the cookies looked, Santa always drank the milk. Sometimes the carrots had teeth marks in them, or they were gone too, so we knew Rudolph had enjoyed a little bit of a snack with Santa.
Christmas times change, and now we have seemed to forgotten to leave the cookies out for Santa and the carrot sticks for Rudolph. Now I wonder if I should think it’s silly to miss those sleepless nights when I excitedly waited to see how our little darlings liked their gifts from Santa. I loved to see the kids’ smiling faces when they looked to see what Santa had left in or underneath their stockings. They always smiled with joy and showed us what they received. Watching them receive what Santa gave was a special gift to me.
Since we haven’t been leaving Christmas cookies out for Santa, I have been sleeping better on Christmas Eve night!