• Last modified 561 days ago (Jan. 4, 2018)


Another Day in the Country

Making a little holiday magic

© Another Day in the Country

During the holiday season, a little magic is what we are all longing for, whether it’s the lights from the Christmas trees or that perfect, silent, snowfall on Christmas Eve.

Or maybe it’s the magic of having the kids all home again and sitting down to that perfect Christmas dinner with loads of whipping cream — Grandma Ehrhardt-style — in every dish, from the cream peas to her signature sweet potatoes.

Perhaps because my parents worked so hard to downplay the secular side of Christmas, as an adult I wanted to explore every silly holiday possibility.

Christmas stockings were a must, even though we didn’t have a proper old-fashioned fireplace for hanging them.

If you opened my Christmas storage box, marked “Stockings,” you’d find the history of my family Christmases displayed.

There’s the year we had the cowboy theme, even though we lived in California. At one point I made stockings for the four of us and every year added some new decorations. (That got tiresome.) The year after the divorce, when the house held only women, all the Christmas socks were shaped like high-heeled boots. Those didn’t last, because Santa had a difficult time finding things narrow and small enough to fit inside.

We started talking about magical Christmas memories the other evening as Jana and I took Dagfinnr to his martial arts class in Santa Rosa. I think Jana initiated the topic to lighten our spirits, since we were driving down a very familiar road that looked like a war zone after the Northern California fires this fall. 

“I remember the year I got the little red boom box that you could also record on,” Jana said. “And it had an external mic so you could also do karaoke.”

By contrast, I was remember both girls and their dad had the Asian flu, and a big storm came through so we were without electricity. 

“Remember the year Dad got up on the roof to simulate Santa’s reindeer?” asked Jana.

What she doesn’t know is how hard I worked to talk her dad into climbing up on the roof at midnight and cavorting about like reindeer while I hung on the ladder, jangling the sleigh bells.

“I knew it was you and Dad,” Jana said, “ but just the idea of Santa and the reindeer on the roof was thrilling.”

That’s the type of magical memory we want for our kids and ourselves. I’m always pushing the boundary, hunting for that little something extra that might create a cherished Christmas memory.

Then there was the year we had a nativity scene in our front yard. Our little Shetland pony, named Muffy had miraculously conceived in her old age and had a precious little colt we called Spunky.

On Christmas Eve I took the manger that we had used earlier in the evening for the church Christmas program and put it on our tiny pitch of lawn in front of the house. We hung a star in the palm tree, and put Jana’s old doll in the manger hay.

Muffy happily munched away on hay and fresh green grass as her baby frolicked around her.

The next morning Jana looked out her window and squealed with delight. There in our impromptu manger scene was a big bale of alfalfa tied up with a red bow. We never figured out who brought the gift to mother Muffy and her new baby but still remember the Christmas magic.

It’s another day in the country — and I hear it’s beyond “cold” in Kansas — so I hope your magical memories from Christmas keep a little warmth in your heart as we start this new year.

Last modified Jan. 4, 2018