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In the spirit of the holidays, we’ve been asking those near and dear to us to share their Christmas memories. If you missed Kelly’s story, read it now!

The following is brought to you by our own Red Hen!

Well, my most vivid Christmas memory occurred when I was about 8 years old.  “Santa” always came to our house to visit after a family Christmas Eve dinner.  Dinner itself was memorable.  I lived in an extended family house with my brother, parents, maternal grandparents and Dutch-only-speaking great-grandmother.  My grandfather would cook the turkey and make the delicious gravy, my grandmother would make the thyme-bread stuffing (it’s a northern thing). Opoe (pronounced: Oh-pooh), Dutch for Grandma, would come for an infrequent trip down the stairs with the help of my grandfather and father.  Grandad would always excuse himself early after dinner; he was a nurse and frequently went to bed early to get up at 5 am to be at the hospital.  Suddenly “Santa” would knock at the door and my father would answer and let him in.  He had a “sack” (pillowcase) full of gifts from the grandparents.  The year I was 8, my brother climbed onto “Santa’s” lap and I stood in front of him.  I noticed that the “boots” Santa was wearing had brown shoes poking out of the toes.  Then I noticed the “boots” went up the calf but stopped at the top of the shoe with a black elastic band around the bottom of the shoe.  I pointed this out to my mother quite loudly and was told to “SHUSH!”  I was NOT allowed to discuss this after the visit and was left wondering about “Santa”.  He was wearing my grandfather’s shoes and the aftershave sure smelled like Grandad also!  Why had I never noticed this before?  So, that was the year I realized that Grandad was “Santa”.  But, Grandad had always been Santa to me anyway, and would continue to be so until his death some 20 years later–so it really didn’t rock my world!

Thanks, Red Hen, for sharing! What a lovely picture you painted of a young child’s realization! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa! but he’s Grandad!

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?