For Part 1 of The Christmas Room story, start here.
Once everything was checked out, we were given the thumbs-up to go into The Christmas Room. In spite of being in that room year in and out, the magic of the room made your brain feel all oogly woogly and for a moment you couldn’t remember where you were supposed to go or sit or what you were supposed to say and YAY IT’S CHRISTMAS WE’RE FINALLY IN!
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go into The Christmas Room, you know that whether it’s April or July or the day after Christmas, you will long for wrapped gifts and stockings. All year, this room is dedicated to Christmas.
There are two Christmas sofas, one for each family like we’re on Family Feud. I’m not sure how or when they were covered in this epically textured red velvet fabric, but I know that they were probably the subject of thousands of conversations over the years.
Someone would inevitably try to squeeze into the small chair that had once been my Mama’s, noting that “I can still fit in here” for all the family to giggle at them.
Stockings were laid out in the corners of the sofas, perfectly filled with equal amounts of goods. Dads and boys got water guns and silly string. The Moms and girls got smelly lotions and lip gloss. At some point, we all started to get lottery tickets.
And there was always the famous cash envelope that the parents immediately confiscated – I can only assume that was so we didn’t throw it away with the wrapping paper.
Gifts were passed out by two of us. Everybody waited until all the gifts were carefully (and quickly) delivered to dive in. But when all was delivered, it was game on. Paper flew, “thank you” was said quickly when eye contact was made with the giver, the next gift was grabbed to open in a hurry.
As the years went on, we realized that Grannie and Grandaddy would sit and wait before opening their own gifts, watching and taking it all in before turning their attention to the gifts from their grandchildren and daughters.
It all moved dizzyingly fast – from the opening of the door to the moment we all leaned back and sighed from exhaustion. The next thing you knew, the parents were back at the table with pecan pie and coffee while the kids were laid out in the floor in front of the TV and electric space heater watching WMAZ’s coverage of Santa’s flight across the globe.
And just as we rushed to get TO Grannie and Grandaddy’s, once we realized Santa was close to our area, we forced the parents to rush home. Bags were gathered, trunks were filled (to the brim, to be honest), cars were loaded and goodbyes were said.
Before we got to the river, my sister and I were normally asleep. In fact, we were so sound asleep we would have to be carried into the house and placed in our beds with visions of sugarplums and the magic of The Christmas Room dancing in our heads.
The Door To Christmas is more than just that. It’s the door to memories, ones that we can all share and cherish and open the door to whenever we want.
My wish for y’all this Christmas season is that you have a door in your heart and in your mind that you are able to open and be transported to happy and beautiful memories of Christmases past. And also that you are taking the time to enjoy the memories you are making with your children and grandchildren. Those memories will stay with them forever.
I also know that this Christmas, my Grannie and Grandaddy are together, sitting on a Christmas sofa holding Charlie, waiting patiently for all gifts to be open before they open theirs. They’ll smile down and make sure we are all equally blessed, just as they did for dozens of years before.