My dad has always been very fastidious around the Yuletide . Pine needles from the tree are to be swept up daily. We heated our home with a wood stove, so wood had to be chopped, split, kindling prepared, etc. We needed to take care to remove all splinters, wood shavings, ashes, etc. regularly. It was so ingrained in us that to this day its effects have not been completely erased, and I find myself hanging shirts on white hangars and pants on black plastic hangers. Yes, we’re a bit OCD!
So, one year (I think I was 10, my siblings 12 and 14) the kids were all starting to really doubt whether this big fat guy in a red suit climbed down our fireplace with a bag of gifts. I’d stuck my head inside the fireplace that summer to see how big the opening really was and I was afraid I’d get stuck, let alone a fat guy! Uh huh….sure mom and dad, whatever! Apparently my dad got wind of that. On Christmas Eve, he dragged out his old cold weather boots from his Army days (he called them Mickey Mouse boots), dipped them into the ash bucket (cooled ashes), and then clomped around the tree and the fireplace in them. He then got some carrots and gnawed off enough to leave the ends all chewed and tossed them out into the snow.
The next morning all of us woke up to my dad loudly grousing around and threatening to call the authorities at the mess. All three of us went downstairs, saw the huge footprints of soot, presents around a tree and a lump of coal in my Dad’s stocking! Even my brother was fooled for another couple years!
I love telling this story, but what’s missing? (The one above is from the website http://www.santasoles.net – seems others have had the idea since then…) Anyway, the problem is I have nothing but memories of that day – no photos! The moral? If you’ve got your own stories and memories for Christmas, be the annoying one to take photos of them! Never forget to take photos – it’s a special time of year and photography can keep the child alive in all of us! Merry Christmas! Share your photos of how you would capture that story!