Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Christmas Story as Published in the Charleston Gazette Last Year

Pam Brennan: Belief in Santa paid off big time Write Your Own Column:

A Christmas Collection By Pam Brennan

I remember sitting in my third-grade classroom one day right before Christmas break. The kids had surrounded my friend Sheila and were making fun of her for believing in Santa. They were so mean that they reminded me of the reindeer who made fun of Rudolph in the Christmas special I'd watched the night before. For the rest of the day, I wondered if it could possibly be true.

I went straight home from school and I asked my mom if there was a Santa Claus. She assured me that he was real. She even told me that Santa did not leave presents for children who did not believe in him. There was no way I was not going to believe!

Christmas Eve came and we made our traditional visit to my Granny's house in Maysburg. I looked forward to seeing the Christ in the manger display on her front porch. (My mother has it now.) Granny would cover her front door with blue wrapping paper "to symbolize the night sky," she told me. On the door was a lighted Star of Bethlehem.

We celebrated with a wonderful Christmas Eve feast. Our cousins were there and we played all evening long. When dinner was over, we sat around the tree with a rotating colored light shining on it. We opened our pajamas that Granny bought for us every year, and then it was time to leave. Granny, Mary Ann and Bud stood on the porch and waved until we drove out of sight.

All the way home, I looked in the clear, night sky for the Christmas Star. I looked for it every year, but it had always been foggy or snowy and I couldn't see it. When we pulled into the alley going to our house, I asked my dad why I couldn't find it. He told me that it only came out the year Jesus was born. He explained that it was not supposed to come out every year.

So both my mom and dad answered two of Christmas' great questions for me. We put on our new pajamas while Mom made warm cocoa. Before going to bed, we wrote a letter to Santa and put out a platter of cookies for him. When we kissed our parents goodnight, they promised to stay awake so Santa would not miss our house.

I woke up at 2 o'clock Christmas morning, and raced to the living room to see a room glowing with Christmas glory. The tree was glittering and the stockings were full. The room was so packed with toys that there was barely a path to the tree. There were bicycles for all three of us, games and toys, a racetrack and presents piled everywhere. There was even an organ and a pinball machine.

On the table in front of me there was an unfinished letter from Santa Claus. I thought I must have scared him away because there was a still warm cup of cocoa and one the cookies had a bite taken out of it. Then I saw it. A display case holding 52 Dawn dolls, which were like miniature Barbies. Each was dressed in her own high-fashion outfit, including one doll in a beautiful bridal gown. I picked up the entire case, and went through the house shouting, "He came! He came! Santa Claus is real! He came!" That case of dolls was bigger than I was but I was out of my mind with joy.

I woke up my entire family with my shouting. Billy and Rhonda were just as ecstatic as I was when they saw that roomful of presents. Our parents watched as we cheered and squealed with joy. Wrapping paper flew at the same time we stuffed ourselves with candy. We did not know which toy to play with first. Every year, I look back fondly on that most perfect of all Christmases in 1970, and wish every child could experience one half as spectacular as mine was that year. Reach Pam Brennan of Charleston at .

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Santa Hat

I love my Santa Hat. Apparently a lot of other people do to because they keep asking me where I got it. There is nothing special about the hat itself. It is just the typical furry, red and white cap with a white pom pom on the tip. What I do have as a special embellishment on the front of the brim is a crochet American flag with a yellow ribbon fastened to it. My mom gave me that flag. She used to wear it on her nurses uniform. That is what makes my Santa Hat special.

Then of course I have my pink Santa Cap to match my pink clothes. I have a lot of pink clothes because it is my favorite color. It has pale pink fur around the brim and the pom pom. The main part of the hat is darker pink satin with sequins all over it. It is also an extra long Santa hat. It sounds cheesy but it is really pretty. I saw a video on youtube the other day and the girl was wearing my hat. She looked pretty good in it. Of course there is only one Mrs. Claus, and that is me!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Year I Ruined Christmas

When I was eleven years old I was a master at sneaking downstairs and opening presents and putting them back so no one would ever know they had been touched. I caught my mom away from home shopping one day and opened every present that I had under the tree. I knew there would be more on Christmas day so it was no big deal.

Christmas day came and we went downstairs and I looked around the room and the only presents were the ones that I had already opened under the tree. They weren't scattered all over the room like they usually were on Christmas morning. I did not have even one surprise. Even worse I had to open my gifts in front of my parents and feign surprise with each one.

Don't get me wrong. I had plenty of presents that day. I had a very good Christmas, it was just that I already knew everything that I had already. It was a lesson that I never forgot and I have never tried to find out early what a present was even to this day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

When does the 12 days of Christmas start?

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,
Swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were Not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone During that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

it is always interesting to know how these songs came to be - damnpamn

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Santa Claus Came to Town

One year at Christmas time I was working part time at a gas station. One of the pumps was full service. Everytime I went out to the pump, people would tell me that if they had known a girl was coming they would have pumped the gas themselves. Then I would have to tell them that I was going to be out of a job with attitudes like that and I needed the job. Once I told them that they would let me pump their gas.

One day I went out to pump the gas for someone in a very nice SUV. When I went to the window all I saw was a a well manicu holding a $100 bill with the dark tinted windows barely cracked so that I could hear the lady tell me to give her $20 worth of gas. I pumped the gas and I went inside to get the change and when I turned around to go outside to give them their change, the SUV was gone!

I went outside to look both ways and I didn't see the vehicle. I walked over to look at the parking lot next door because many of the customers would go over there after they got gas. I saw a black SUV in the parking lot but I wasn't sure that it was them. I called the manager of the store next door(I worked there also) and I asked him to track down the owner of the black SUV in the parking lot and see if they accidentally left me their change! He found them but he said they told him that it wasn't them.

It was then I started to realize that they had left me the money on purpose. I was happy on one hand but worried that they would realize that they had made a mistake and could still come back. I didn't spend any of the money for 3 days - just in case they did come back for it. Even then I bought groceries with the money, so that if they did come back I would just be able to repay them out of my pocket.

A couple of days before Christmas I decided that they weren't coming back. I bought myself a little something and I bought presents for my nieces and nephews that I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise! Because of the mystery people in the SUV, I had a very Merry Christmas that year.