Well, that special day is drawing near. And as it does my thoughts turn to Christmas as a kid: toys, snow, the tree and, of course, Santa Claus.
Growing up as a kid, Christmas was probably the most special day of the whole year. I'd looked forward to it for months. I'd pretty much have the Sears Christmas catalogue memorized by the time I had to pull my wish list together. And if we were lucky, it had snowed in the days leading up to Christmas and we'd make snow angels and snow men. A snowball fight or two with the other kids on the street was a certainty.
I grew up in Toronto. In the suburb of Scarborough to be precise. There weren't any big hills near our house - and we didn't have a car - so I had to rely on my friends' parents to drive us and our toboggans to the nearest snowy slope. There was an outdoor skating rink nearby, though, and we would spend hours at Clairlea Park playing shinny.
I walked to and from Our Lady of Fatima School everyday. All my buddies were protestants, so it was a quick solitary jaunt of about 5 minutes. I recall I used to wet back my hair each morning just so it would freeze on the way to school. This was a favourite activity of mine, daring the elements to break chunks of my frozen locks off. They never did. But it was interesting sitting in my desk at school for the first half hour as the ice melted and ran down my forehead and the inside of my shirt collar.
In Grade's 3 and 4 I attended St. Michael's Choir School in downtown Toronto. As Christmas approached the students would practice for the big Christmas concert - an annual affair at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
St. Mike's was much further away than Our Lady of Fatima and required me taking a bus and the subway to get there. But I didn't mind. Especially at Christmas. You see around the corner from the school were Eaton's and Simpsons, two huge department stores. And as Christmas approached both stores decorated their street-level display windows with all kinds of Christmas scenes using shiny decorations and thousands of lights. It was like they were in a contest to outdo each other.
One year, the magic of Christmas lost it's sheen. A couple of the older boys from across the street told me there wasn't a Santa Claus. They told me they had proof. One of them had found some presents in his parents dresser drawers and said he had placed special marks on them. Guess what? On Christmas, he received the same presents, with the marks, from Santa Claus. In later years this delinquent would spend time in a penal institution. OK, I made that up, but he should have.
I was crestfallen. And my mom - I don't know why to this day - confirmed the horrid fact and killed the dream that eventually dies within each child.
But one day I had kids of my own, and now I have grandchildren and - guess what? There is a Santa Claus!
Check out Humor Bloggers Dot Com today and the rest of the week to see what other Christmas tales are being told. Hey, and be sure and come back here tomorrow!
* photos from Archives of Ontario