X-mas Eve: Santa casts a spell – #atozchallenge

X-mas at Whispering Chimneys. Twenty-fourth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck — almost there!

Winter was always a magical time at Whispering Chimneys — the farm near Altamont, N.Y., where I spent my early childhood.

Snow drifted up to our second-story roof, candles flickered in every room when the power lines went down — and there was ice skating on the pond and snow-shoeing in the side yard.

But the most magical time when I was little was X-mas — and especially Christmas eve.

The sound of reindeer hoofs

My bedroom was next to our largest chimney, and I had a little chimney closet where I kept my toys and books. On Christmas eve Mom or Dad would take out “The Night Before Christmas” and read it aloud before tucking me in.

Christmas at Whispering Chimneys in 1951. That’s me in front with Mom and Dad. Rear, from left: Boom (Mom’s mother), Grandpa Charboneau (Dad’s father) and Gramps (Mom’s father). At left, with just her elbow showing: Grandma Charboneau (Dad’s mother). Photo: Rita Mary Laurence (Mom’s sister).

Of course the minute they left the room, I was at the frosty window searching the sky for the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh.

There was nothing like our creaky old 1850s farmhouse for convincing my I heard distant sleigh bells or hoofs on our roof — so I was up and down many times before I finally fell asleep.

Then one year, I could stand the suspense no longer. I got out of bed and tiptoed slowly down our big central staircase to see if Santa had come — and that turned out to be the most magical year of all!

Santa casts a spell

The stairway and main hall were dark, but when I reached the bottom the living room was ablaze with light. And there by the tree were Mom and Dad and a pile of presents!

“Was Santa here?” I asked excitedly. “Did you see him?” My parents looked up, startled.

“What are you doing up?” asked my mother, moving quickly across the room and gathering me in her arms before I could see too much. My father joined her and they took me back up to bed.

“Did you see Santa?” I asked them again — since Santa had clearly dropped off our presents. “No, we didn’t,” said my father.

“But you were there when he came?” I asked. “Yes, we were,” Dad said, looking over at my mother. “But Santa must have cast a spell over us.” A spell? How mysterious. “That’s right,” Mom agreed.

“We were sitting at the kitchen table talking,” Dad continued. “Santa must have put us to sleep, because when we woke up and went into the living room the presents were already under the tree.”

Well, how about that? Santa had actually been to our house! Maybe I had heard his reindeer after all. And who knew he could cast spells?

“Now, you go to sleep and in the morning you can see your presents,” said Mom. Then they tucked me in again and went back downstairs.

That night, I drifted off to sleep thinking about Santa sprinkling sparkly dust over my parents so they wouldn’t see him leave the gifts — and so we could all enjoy his surprise on Christmas morning.

Up next – Yearly rituals: Rhythms of rural life. Please stop back!

 © 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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15 thoughts on “X-mas Eve: Santa casts a spell – #atozchallenge”

  1. Sounds like you had wonderful Xmas times! I was an only child and I seem to remember hardly anything about Xmas – maybe because I was afraid of Santa!

    1. Oh no! Many children area afraid of clowns. How unfortunate to be scared of Santa 🙂 I think my parents reading “Night Before Christmas” out loud — and their creative tale of the spell — are what helped this memory stay with me.

    1. Winter is like that in the northeast — and my parents helped give my childhood holiday that storybook feel with their fictional rendition of Santa’s visit 🙂

    1. Thanks, Christine — you have some pretty great photos on your blog as well! I’m very fortunate that my dad, my Aunt Rita and Boom, my maternal grandmother, were all photo buffs who were seldom without a camera in hand.

  2. One Christmas on the farm, we all had to sleep in the living room near the big wood stove (we also lived in an 1800s farmhouse which can be drafty and expensive to heat) and I was asleep between my sisters on the floor when I was awakened by whispering. I clearly heard an elf say, “We must have already been here there are so many presents”.

  3. That was a magical Christmas to remember so different to our hot summer Christmases.

  4. First using X-Mas as your X word is great. I struggled with picking a word and X-Mas seems so obvious now I am reading your post. Second, loved your post. Casting a spell was an ingenious way to save the magic of Christmas. I really enjoyed your post, thank you for sharing.
    Stopping by from A to Z: X words

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