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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, December 22, 2008

When Snoopy Knocked Down the Christmas Tree by Diane Gaston

About now I'm willing to bet most of us are worried about our gift selections for Christmas. Did we buy enough? Did we spend too much or too little? Can we afford those last minute gifts we still have to buy? Will our Christmas be as fine as the last few years when we had so much more money to spend?

These are all questions I'm asking myself this year. I want to make this Christmas memorable for my family, as memorable as other Christmases.

But then I remember the year Snoopy knocked down the Christmas tree.

It wasn't Christmas exactly, but New Year's eve and my parents were getting ready to go to the neighbor's for their annual New Year's eve party. It meant my older sisters and I would have the house to ourselves and could stay up as long as we liked. We had a plate of shrimp and cocktail sauce just like my parents took to the party as well as Coca Cola and other snacks. Just as they were ready to leave there was a crash. Our cat Snoopy, who liked to drink from the tree water, put his paws on the reservoir and knocked the whole tree over. There were glass ornaments to clean up and a traumatized kitty to be comforted (my job).

Eventually the tree was righted, the reservoir refilled and the tiny glass chards and the tinsel and pine needles all vacuumed up. My parents left for the party and my sisters and I watched Zero Mostel in The Boys From Syracuse and later The Best of Ernie Kovacs and we had the very best of Christmas seasons.

And then there was the Christmas Eve when my Aunt Loraine and I took the bus to downtown Washington DC. It was snowing, unusual for DC. I was home from college, my dad was stationed in Korea and the rest of the family were all living in an apt in DC. It should have been a forgettable Christmas, but my aunt and I decided to buy my sisters, my mother and each other extra gifts costing no more than $5.00 each. That was the most fun Christmas shopping I ever had in my life.

Later that night we walked down 16th Street NW in DC with the street hushed with snow to attend Midnight Mass at the church a couple of blocks away. I still remember that walk.

In more recent years, I remember the Christmas my husband and son refurbished two old bicycles to give to a poor family. They were those old banana bikes, but they made them new again. To a kid with no hope for a new bicycle, they were a dream come true.

So what does this have to do with this year's worry about buying presents and trying to economize and worrying if Christmas will be nice enough?

None of these treasured memories has anything to do with specific gifts given or received. So don't worry! Pay attention to the little things that really make Christmas time memorable.

Like when Snoopy knocked down the Christmas tree.

Come visit me at Risky Regencies today and share my Regency Christmas!

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At 7:13 AM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Diane, this was lovely, and I especially enjoyed the pictures!

We have a running bet on if our tree will make it to Christmas without being tipped over. We have one old, dear cat who ignores everything, but two one-year old brothers who are obsessed with the ornaments, and then our two year old (mindless, exuberant) Brittany spaniel keeps "retrieving" all the presents and dragging them to us.

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Don't our furry friends make Christmas fun???

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Truly a great reminder of what is important about Christmas! We always remember the Christmas my baby brother, Brian, shot my Dad with the stopper gun from the Batman utility belt!

We always talk about our three White Christmases in England, especially the year all three of us got bicycles and it snowed for days after Christmas and we couldn't ride them!

My boy cats are too fat and useless to go after the Christmas tree, but the little girl, Rebecca is fascinated by it. Frodo, the chihuahua, barks at it if the lights race or blink.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Oh, I'm loving these pet stories. Louisa, the one about your brother shooting your father with the stopper gun is pretty funny too, since no real harm was done!

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I loved the photos! And you're so right about the best times not necessarily coinciding with expensive gifts. One of my favorite gifts as a girl in the metro-DC area (before Louisiana and Georgia), was a rare snowfall. It must have been the late 60's. It started snowing on Christmas Eve, and my aunt had to spend the night with us. My other favorite was a dollhouse my dad made for me and my sister. Thanks for triggering those memories!

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Diane -

Great pictures and you are so right. Wonderful memories usually are about what we felt during a particular moment, not what we opened.

I kept thinking Snoopy had to be a dog. What a fun name for a cat.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

You are so right. The family memories are more important than the gifts. I will always remember this Christmas as the one I held my first grandchild.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Mo H, that snowy Christmas eve shopping trip and walk to church was in 1966.


At 9:32 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Loved the stories, Diane. the pictures are great too. And you're right about feeling like you didn't do enough the night before christmas! I don't like that feeling but it happens every year!

Thanks for sharing.


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