It’s Christmas Eve, and the kids are beside themselves with excitement. There are presents everywhere in the family room; they’re spilling out from under the tree and up onto table tops and shelves on the wall. There are stockings hung above the television set, and where there aren’t presents there are reminders of what day this is in the form of figural snowmen, Santa Clauses, and holly berries. The room glitters.
But it isn’t time to open presents yet! What to do? The stereo is on, blasting Billboard’s Classic Christmas songs, and the kids dance off their nervous energy, but it isn’t enough. Grandma has a solution. She comes downstairs and pads softly over the plush carpeting into the laundry room where she plucks a few things off of the floor to ceiling shelves: a metal tin filled with crayons and a
stack of coloring books. She plants the kids around the coffee table and splays the books and crayons out in the center. “There,” she says. “Now color for a while and before you know it, it will be time to open presents.” As the kids move in to grab their favorite colors, she goes back upstairs to join the other adults who are eating their Honeybaked ham and gabbing away in no rush at all.
I don’t know why coloring books are such a great way to occupy one’s restlessness, but they are. I sometimes color while watching a movie to keep myself from feeling like I’m not doing anything. And I’ve got a Christmas coloring book too!
When my sister and I were young, we had a big picture window in ourliving room and we loved to tape up pictures we had colored so everyone could see our work. This was a common practice, especially during Halloween and Christmas. My mom never liked to clean off the spray snow you stencil onto windows during Christmastime so we’d use markers to make designs on paper with the stencils and hang those up too. One year as teenagers, we got bored while our parents shopped so we surprised them with a dazzling display of coloring book pages and paper snowflakes on the windows. I know they were impressed, even if they didn’t say so.
RADIO: Cinnamon Bear “The Wintergreen Witch”, Jump Jump and the Ice Queen “Adrift on the Ice Floe”, Jonathan Thomas and his Christmas on the Moon “Crossing the Frozen River”
MOVIE: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a classic Christmas movie. Its charming songs, memorable characters, and "be yourself" message have only become more popular with time. It was the first program on our recorded Christmas tape, so I saw it often, although I have only begun to really appreciate it in the past few years. When you're a kid, you don't think about how much time and effort goes into stop-motion animation, but it is amazing that anyone had the patience to complete this film that way. It was definitely worth it, and it is what makes this film unique.
SONG: Toyland by Doris Day
GIFT MEMORY: One year, my grandma got all of us kids Legos. The two youngest girls, SabrinaKelley and I got Lego dune buggies with glow-in-the-dark pieces. When it came time to pack up our things and go home, my Legos and Megan's Legos got mixed up, so we were set to go home with two little kid sets and Kelley and Megan went home with two dune buggies. My aunt realized the mistake on their way home so she called my grandma to tell us to swing by their house before going home so we could swap. I remember thinking it wasn't that important, that we would switch eventually, but Megan seemed eager to get the right gift. We made the exchange on their front porch; luckily they didn't live far from us.