SoCS – Box

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you every week by Linda Hill. Check out her blog for the rules and the contribution of other bloggers.

This week’s prompt:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “box.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!

Box. Hmmm. Pandora’s box – or 2020 as we call it.

Music box. I love music boxes. I have a few very special music boxes. I was never a huge fan of Christmas shopping, but oh, how I did love stopping at the San Francisco Music Box pop-up stores. I found they did have an online presence, but the selections were minimal. I have a a Nutcracker music box my son gave me which I will give to his daughter someday.

We saved a lot of shipping boxes ‘just in case’. You never know when you will need an odd shaped box for Christmas presents. Now that Christmas has passed, we can safely break those down and recycle them at the landfill.

Box, boxing, hmmmm kangaroos.

When I was a kid a lot of cartoons involved a kangaroo that could box. They were often depicted with boxing gloves. I remember one cartoon (maybe Tom and Jerry) where a boxing kangaroo was mistaken for an overgrown mouse? That doesn’t seem right. There is probably some reason Kangaroos were shown as boxing kangaroos. I will look that up but not now because this is stream of consciousness.

Speaking of Australia (which I didn’t except I mentioned Kangaroos) I don’t think I follow any bloggers who live in Australia. So, if you know someone I should follow, drop their URL in the comments.

All that remains in 2020 is to take down the decorations and box them back up for next year, but I’m in no hurry. I am going to enjoy Christmas as long as the tree keeps its needles.


The Year I First Saw Santa

I must have been about six. I felt awkward and lanky for my age although photographs do not bear that out. My hair was short, cut into the ‘cute’ pixie haircut that I always detested. I could not wait to grow up and finally have long hair, but I was the youngest of four and growing up was a dreadfully long way off.

Watching my father at Christmas was like observing another child. He was filled with excitement and the anticipation of opening gifts was almost more than he could bear. While we were young, we opened Christmas presents on Christmas Day after Santa had delivered the presents.

On Christmas Eve, we all went to church for Christmas services. We piled into the station wagon, along with our grandparents and drove the short distance to church. It was always a beautiful and festive service full of Christmas hymns and the joyful Christmas story, not at all like the sometimes stodgy Sunday sermons.

After church we were all rushed off to bed with the promise that our grandmother would join us to sleep ‘crossways’ in the bed – a Christmas Eve tradition we had always enjoyed. Reflecting on this as a grandmother now, I can only imagine how uncomfortable she was.

Children and sleep are a complex formula – especially at Christmas. The buildup and anticipation often got the better of many children and we were no exception. On this particular evening, we were upstairs, all dressed in our flannel pajamas bouncing around like ping pong balls. It was difficult to sleep listening to the movement and conversation downstairs.

”You kids better settle down or Santa won’t stop here.” It was the warning we all feared – or perhaps I was the only one because my siblings simply snickered at the warning.

We all finally settled into the double bed – all four of us, but there was no sleep. Eyes would open and shut and giggles would spill out along  with the occasional “Scoot over” or “You’re hogging the bed”.

For a moment the room grew quiet when I heard my oldest sister urge my brother: “Go ask Dad if Santa has been here yet” to which he shook his head no. “He will never believe me.” Then my sister suggested I go to the top of the stairs and ask our father the same question to which she added “Because you still believe in Santa.”

Now what did she mean by that? Of course I believed in Santa. I listened, thinking it had grown terribly quiet downstairs, yet my grandmother had not come up to sleep with us yet. After much cajoling, I finally slipped out of the bed, opened the bedroom door and walked across the hall to the top of the stairs.

“Daddy, is Santa here yet?”

I heard my father’s deep bass voice “No, and you better get back in that bed or he won’t come at all!” It was enough to convince me to get my rear back in bed and get to sleep.

Early the next morning we were awakened by a loud “Ho, ho, ho” that reverberated with that rich bass sound just like my dad’s voice. We opened our eyes to find our grandmother lying in the midst of these four kids with elbows and knees sprawled everywhere. The sun was just rising as we ran downstairs with bare feet on the cold wood floor.

That was the year Santa brought me my pink and white table with the removable top and my Chatty Cathy doll. He left a note telling us how much he enjoyed the milk and cookies we left for him. Santa’s handwriting looked a lot like my father’s.

I felt like that was the year I really ‘saw’ Santa for the first time. He was indeed a jolly old elf and no matter what others may say, he is as real to me today as he was back then.

All you have to do is believe.

Merry Christmas Eve!


One Liner Wednesday – Christmas Countdown


Conversation with my granddaughter:

Me: “Are you anxious for Christmas?”

Her: (Pause) “No.”

Me: “What? You aren’t anxious for Christmas?”

Her: (Pause) “Wait! What does anxious mean?”




One Liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by Linda Hill. Check out Linda’s blog to see what others have to say with just one line.



Christmas in Trying Times

This morning as I read U.S. headlines, the phrases and words were daunting: reign of destruction, unchained,  unhinged, unpredictable, fear, sociopath, and crisis. Wow. That’s a lot of fear and dread going into the most sacred of Christian holidays. These words were all to describe the political environment and do not even touch on the reality of this pandemic fog we live in.

Jesus was not born into pristine and welcoming times. War and revolt were commonplace. Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be accounted for in the census required by Caesar Augustus. After the birth of Jesus, they became refugees and fled to avoid the “Slaughter of the Innocents” by Herod the Great.

If you do not believe Biblical accounts of the events, historic accounts of those times depict horrific events. Not easy times, but in some strange way it left me with a sense of peace. It left me remembering we have survived trying times over and over throughout history. Living our best lives and being kind in a not-so-kind world is a powerful way to celebrate the birth of Christ.

I think back to the last Christmas I spent with my father in the Valley. On Christmas Eve, everyone came to evening church services where they received one white candle. There was no preaching, only singing of hymns. Afterward, everyone walked to the altar in silence, lit their candle, and then exited the church in silence. Many walked home carrying their candle, shining light into this small, perhaps insignificant to some, corner of the world. This night reminds me I do not need to gather en masse to pay reverence on Christmas. One single candle is sometimes enough.

Enjoy this season. Smile at the festivity. Find peace in your own belief system. Be kind to others. Celebrate safely. Exercise self-care and protect the vulnerable in your circle. Decreasing your dosage of apocalyptic journalism might make your holiday a little brighter.