Archive for December 2015

The Real Mrs. Santa Claus

Every Christmas eve, when I was growing up, it was my Mother’s tradition to go out for a little while during the day. She said she was “visiting Mrs. Santa Claus.”

Photo by paulapaulac via Flickr

This seemed like such a wonderful thing for a mom to do, and I imagined her and Mrs. Claus sitting in Mrs. C’s cozy kitchen, sweet with the aroma of cloves, oranges, and pine, sharing a pot of hot tea and warm cookies.

It was only after I became a mother myself that I learned about the secret arrangement between my Mom and Mrs. Claus: every year on December 24th, my mother went to see her own mother for a little while.

I am the oldest of four sisters, and we are close in age. My mother worked very hard as a nurse and to hold our household together, and this must have been the only time that she and her mother, my Grandma Belles, were able to enjoy some quiet time, with just the two of them.

My fantasy, as it turns out, was probably pretty close. I loved my Grandma’s kitchen, and she was a wonderful baker and cook. She was a round and sturdy Pennsylvania Dutch woman, who sewed and kept house with my Grandfather.  She was quiet, but had a ready chuckle.

Their Christmas tree was a small one, decorated with red cardinals and set with the few fine and practical gifts they gave one another each year; a new pair of leather gloves, a scarf, some candy. The tree stood on a table near the stone fireplace my Grandfather had built himself, in the Cape Cod-style house they had built together.

My Grandmother died in 2010, and I feel very blessed to be able to see my Mom on Christmas Day. In my heart of hearts, though, I wish I could take a few hours today to visit with Mrs. Claus, and to have my own daughter visit with me as I grow into the mysterious role of the nurturing and plump and wise woman who stands so quietly behind the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all, and may you have a Joyful, Peace-filled New Year!

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