Years ago and throughout his life my dad was truly infected with a contagious Christmas Spirit. He gave gifts and was a decorating maniac – the glitzier the better. Dad loved blinking stars, marching soldiers, singing chipmunks, Rudolph’s red nose flashing and bells jingling on all our doorknobs.
Our Nativity scene displayed 12 sheep with fur, 11 shepherds, 10 camels, four Wiseman, two drummer boys and a kneeling Santa Claus. An angel dressed in a white satin gown lifted her magic wand towards Heaven and reigned majestically on top of the tree.
After Dad plugged in the lights, pulled the switches and wound up all the music boxes the inside and outside of our apartment performed Swan Lake, the Halleluiah Chorus and The Nutcracker Suite simultaneously.
When I was 6, Dad surprised his family with a perfect gift. On Christmas Eve during a blizzard with zero visibility Dad came home from work late. Mom loved Dad but she yelled when she was worried so I heard: “Where the hell is your father? Dinner is getting cold. Carole, go out on the porch and check.”
I stepped out into the 2 feet of snow illuminated by the moonlight. I squinted but only saw the large white snowflakes surfing the howling wind. “Did you see him?” Mom yelled. “Where the hell is he? Dinner is getting cold.”
The sixth time out on the porch I recognized a swaying white snowman approaching, pulling something behind him. “Mom, he’s coming,” I hollered. “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Dad chanted while jingling the bells on the front door. “Carole tell him to shake off the snow.” Mom ordered. “I don’t want water tracked up here.” Dad stomped his feet, removed his hat, gloves and coat then dragged a heavy bundle up the steps.
“Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” he joyfully sang with a big Cheshire smile on his face. Dad plopped the bundle upright then cut the rope. Oh! it was the first time I ever saw a totally white Christmas tree. How beautiful and perfect!
Dad primed cars by hand all day in a cold, cement bay at a garage in Bradford, Pa. After work, he sprayed the tree white and then waited until the paint dried. Our tree that matched the snow was the talk of the town.
Dad died several years ago but the memory of his perfect gift of a white Christmas tree is still alive.