We're making Christmas last!!!
Welcome to the #12DaysofTwitter blog series! Have you seen some of your writer friends sporting funny Christmas-y names? Well, what began as a simple name change from one twitter writer snowballed, and is now a chance for twenty-four awesome writers to share memories and stories of what Christmas means to us. Click this link for the complete link list of all twelve days.
Today's writers are Megan Eccles (who actually does own a cow, I'm told...) and M. Andrew Patterson (whose first name I still don't know...). Both have memories of sweet gifts that made Christmas memorable. (I'll have you know, I did not assign topics here. These writers are coming up with memories and stories on their own that seem to relate to each other. IT'S MAGIC!)
Six Megs a-Milking
It wasn’t our house. It wasn’t our furniture or tree or clothes and everything smelled wrong. It was the first Christmas since our house burned down and we were all gathered there in the awkward, faked joy as we tried to remember to be human through our grief. We were almost through the stack of gifts-- half of them donated—when my mom brought out the four identical packages. Rectangles and familiar in ways that hurt.
Peeling back the paper, I was six again. It’s the first Christmas I remember, the tree was small and the woodstove hot and it was the only box under the tree. It was the only one I needed. Samantha. My 1904 American Girl doll, my constant companion for my formative years, my friend, my confidant. I didn’t save her from the wildfire that wiped away the life I knew, just like I didn’t save my dog or my pictures or the first novel I wrote. But here she was, smiling at me.
She didn’t have the chewed on middle and ring finger or the uneven hair of a well-intentioned trim. Her middle wasn’t softened with age or love, and she didn’t smell of lemon and vinegar the way our old house did. But holding her, in that circle of people, I was home.
Six Drews a-Drumming
The Year Santa was Real
I was about six or seven at the time. My mom was a single mother of three. We lived below the poverty line, but somehow we always had food. It wasn't the best, but it filled our stomachs. Our clothes were hand-me-downs and and second hand store purchases. Somewhere along the line, I had started to question the existence of Santa. Maybe it was my life situation. Maybe it was that I had an older brother. Whatever the reason, I was doubtful that Santa existed.
Despite all this, there were always presents under the tree come Christmas morning. I knew we didn't have a lot of money, so I knew that we weren't getting anything super fancy, but we would love the gifts all the same. They were always bought with love and we had big imaginations, so even a stuffed animal was a chance for adventure.
This year, we had a present under the tree that wasn't from my mom, my brother, or my sister. It had a tag on it that read "From Santa". We figured it was my mom being silly until we opened it. It was a Merlin and even though it was a simple game, it was way out of my mother's budget. At the time, it was THE handheld game to have. To this day I still remember that toy. We played it constantly. It wasn't until we got older that we found out it was bought with money from a grandparent. But for that moment in time, Santa was real.
(Here's the commercial for the Merlin toy...)
Sometimes the right gift, to the right person, at the right time, can make all the difference in the world.