The Ghost of Christmas Past


A number of years ago, my eleven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son barged into my wife and my bedroom and bounced on top of our bed. Right behind them, their three-year-old brother waddled into the room too. His brother and sister reached down from their perch on the bed, grabbed him by the shoulders, and lifted him up.

I looked up in my half-awake state to see three little monkeys giggling and staring back at me. My wife and I looked at each other and pulled ourselves up to sitting positions. “Did he come, did he come?” my daughter asked. Right on cue, the two boys screamed out too, “Yea, did he come?”

They, of course, wanted to know if Santa Claus with his big red bag of goodies had come to our house and couldn’t wait to run downstairs to open their presents. They first had to convince my wife and I to wake up.

I grabbed the clock and let out a groan. The numbers on the clock told me that it was a little before 5 a.m. I considered telling the kids to go back to bed, but I doubted the move would work. My wife must have been thinking the same thing. She poked me in the stomach and told me to get moving.

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Christmas then and now

In the early years with our kids, we went all out for Christmas. We stayed up one Christmas until the wee hours of the morning putting together a huge four-foot-by-four-foot plastic Little Tikes Playhouse in our living room so that my daughter would have the thrill of a lifetime. Another year, while putting the finishing touches on my son’s new bike, I came close to cutting myself, nearly sending my wife and I to the emergency room.

In the years since, our Christmas mornings have changed. In fact, we’ve seen some pretty drastic changes. My two oldest kids are young adults now and my youngest is in middle school, but they still come knocking on our bedroom door early on Christmas morning.

“C’mon Dad, let’s go,” my middle son says.

My youngest would prefer to sleep-in most weekends until noon if I let him, but on Christmas morning, he makes a face and mocks me for sleeping-in on such an important day. “Let’s go Dad, get moving, times a waistin,” he says, checking a make-believe watch.

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Yes, Santa I believe

Our Christmas Eve nights have become tamer. And for a while, I missed the days of old, staying up late to wrap and put presents together, but I’ve come to count on our adult Christmas get-togethers. I’m grateful now for any chance that my wife and I get with our kids. They don’t get to come home as much they used to, so I appreciate the time that all five of us get together

For example, I love how last year we sat down to eat the Saturday before Christmas. It was supposed to be a quick dinner, four hours later we finally went our separate ways. We talked and joked with each other, no one wanting the night to end.

Now that’s a Christmas present to remember.

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