Christmas Eves past

It became a custom for us to celebrate Christmas with extended family on Christmas Eve. I recall two specific celebrations that impacted my growing up experiences.

It was in the late 1960s (I was about 7 years old) and I wanted a doll for Christmas. All the catalogs and television ads showed numerous dolls that blinked their eyes, drank from “milk-filled” bottles, had diapers to change, or had an array of dresses to wear. I wanted this cute curly blond-haired one that blinked and had a milk bottle. Instead I got a rubbery curly red-haired doll wearing a crocheted green outfit. I was so disappointed and put her back in the box and cried.

My grandmother, who gave me the doll, saw my disappointment and came to talk to me about it. She said the doll really was a nice doll and that I would be able to feed her, hold her and love her even if it wasn’t the one I wanted. She took her out of the box and put her into my arms. I looked at the doll and then my grandmother and gave the doll a hug. I held her for the rest of the night. She became my companion and bedmate.

She wasn’t the doll I wanted, but somehow I knew that my grandmother gave her out of love and I wanted to please her. I learned early that we don’t always get what we want (which often is a good thing!), and that we sometimes just have to look at things … and people … with open eyes and different attitudes in order to love them!

A couple years later I remember Santa Claus coming to see us at the house while my cousins were visiting us! I was afraid of him, but he called my name and gave me a gift. I remember looking at his boots and noticed that they were not black like the Christmas cartoons showed. The boots were brown leather with dark shoe strings.

Later that evening my Uncle Danny came to join his family at our house. I noticed his boots were the same ones that Santa was wearing. I didn’t say anything … but I really began to wonder if Santa existed after that!

Julianne Pauszek Root

Dunkirk