I believe in Santa, despite what the kids in my classroom said when I was 11.
We would visit Granny’s house every Christmas Eve. We’d pack the car with packages and hit the road bound for Austin. I looked forward to this road trip for months because it meant presents and surprises from Santa, but more than that, it was Granny’s presence that made it truly special.
You see, I was Granny’s only grandchild. Being with her felt like being wrapped in a warm, cuddly blanket on a cold, dreary January day. To be embraced by Granny on Christmas filled my heart and made me whole. When I entered her house, I entered her bubble and the entire world turned upside down on its axis and suddenly all was well.
Granny’s little Christmas tree was dotted with red yarn bows and red twinkle lights. Her craft style stuffed candy cane filled her wall in lieu of a wreath. She played what I called ‘elevator music’ on the stereo, it was big band sound, but with a Christmas twist.
On Christmas Eve I would help Granny in the kitchen prepare the ham, the cherry salad, spiced peaches, and stuffed celery. Our time in the kitchen was always marked by the two of us hugging and dancing arm in arm like a couple would, swinging and twirling around until it was time to pay attention to something on the stove.
The day included making cookies to later leave for Santa. They usually didn’t include chocolate because it caused Granny to have migraines.
As day turned to night, Granny scrounged a piece of paper for me to leave Santa a note with cookies and a Coke. We watched the 10 o’clock news to catch the Santa radar. It was so cool to see how they could track Santa clear across the world. I asked Granny when she thought Santa might arrive and she’d give me her best projection followed by the news that I needed to go to bed.
On this particular Christmas Eve, I woke up near midnight and peered around the hallway to see Granny in the kitchen where Granny usually hung out until late. She was seated at the dining room table with our stockings and lots and lots of fruit. In my sleepy state, I tiptoed closer to get a better look and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw Granny filling our stockings!
There was toothpaste, Chap Stick, oranges and apples, and all kinds of fun trinkets and things set out on the table. This was the stuff that would fill my stocking. But, Granny! What. Was. She. Doing?
At warp speed and in mass confusion I quickly turned back and ran to my room. I jumped in bed and pulled the covers over my head.
To this day I don’t know if Granny even saw me or heard me. We never spoke about the ‘stocking incident’.
When I thought about it, it really made sense to me that Granny would help Santa out by filling our stockings. I mean the man has a full 24-hour schedule. Talk about compressed, and oh, the heartburn from such a deadline.
I love the tradition of Christmas stockings that my Granny created for our family. She put so much time and effort into making them fun. They were always packed full of surprises. You never knew what you were going to get, but you could always be sure that in the foot of the stocking you’d find an orange and an apple.