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Entry date: 12-24-2022 - Happy Christmas Eve - Letters to Santa

Dear Friends,

Happy Christmas Eve.

This has typically been the day that I celebrate Christmas with my mom. That was the deal when my parents got divorced and over the years, it has become the tradition. It just seems normal.

When it comes to Christmas, I don’t have a recollection of a time before my parents were divorced. When I was little, I remember my dad taking me over to my mom’s parents house on Christmas eve and he would drop me off and we would do Christmas eve there.

One year, my grandparents got me a Star Wars watch, probably 1977, and I was so excited about it. It had Darth Vader on it and I loved that watch. My grandmother, Amy, would make a big meal and we would eat at the long dining room table in the den.

My memories of these evenings are brief, but they do bring a smile to my face. If I close my eyes, I can see my grandfather, Tom, my guy, sitting at the end of the table and if I really reach into the annals of my brain, I can almost hear him saying grace.

How I loved hearing him say grace. “Bless us, oh lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord, amen.” If I heard it once, I heard it three thousand times. Maybe more. I miss him so much.

As I got a little older, we didn’t always go to my grandparent’s house for the whole night and would celebrate Christmas Eve with whatever fella my mom was involved with at the time or sometimes with extended family and friends. When my grandparents moved to Colorado in 1983, it felt especially weird to not see them.

It was an exciting night, as a kid, as my mom tended to spoil me a bit. I suppose being an only child of divorce was part of this equation, but my mom also likes to shop and is very generous. I think she really loves giving a gift. That’s an admirable quality and a pastime that I have enjoyed taking part in as an adult.

When I got to be a teenager, the adults would often allow us to have a beer or occasionally, my uncle would smoke us out a bit on Christmas Eve. It became a lot more festive then. The mid-80s Christmas eve’s are a bit of a blur.

At the end of the 80s, mom went to Alabama to visit my stepdad’s family a few times on Christmas. I was still estranged from my dad at the time, so I didn’t see his side of the family for a while. I regret that, of course, now. One good thing that happened during those times when mom would be in Alabama, though, was that I would house sit and take care of her cats.

It allowed me to through giant Christmas parties. Good times were had by all. I remember freaking out one Christmas morning because one of my friends has been wearing a spiky belt and it made a mark all over the paint in the kitchen, but it eventually came off. These were good parties.

One year, during this time, and maybe even on Christmas eve itself, my friend Mike Miller came over. I will use his name because he died of cancer a long time ago and there is nothing here to sue me over. I kid, but still. I have been really cognizant of not trying to give too much away here to protect people’s privacy.

Anyway, I had some music gear at my mom’s house that I was making a racket with, and Mike came over and we jammed out for a while. It was the only time he and I ever got to do anything like that and I cherish the memory, too. I distinctly remember that I had a delay pedal that I had borrowed from Bill and Mike showed me how to use it properly.

We were probably super high as Mike always had excellent weed and he was making the guitar sound so great. I loved that guy so much. Everybody did. I love thinking about that particular night. I think Ben was there, too, and later that night we drove up to McDonald’s on 44th Street and Thomas to get some late-night munchies and it started to snow a little bit on us.

The next day, we had another huge party and I remember going to the Safeway on 48th Street and Indian School with my buddy, KJ, and we were getting supplies. We found some cocktail umbrellas and thought, “Why not?” I think we were making some vodka Collins or something and needed the umbrellas. They were all over the fucking house the next morning.

The real fun, though, with Christmas Eve has come as an adult. Just spending time with the family and having Mom and Joe come over has become something I really cherish. Everyone is typically in a good mood, and we are often just together laughing and hanging out. Ryan makes it over sometimes, too, and that’s always a treat. Eat, drink, and be merry, you know?

Now that the kids are older, it feels different but no in a bad way. I think we will always have some combination of kids with us for these evenings and I hope that Mom and Joe will be around for a long time to celebrate, too. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for over fifty years.

Having Skyler with us for the last eight years has been a total blast, too. I love getting to be Santa again and putting things out around the fireplace. We haven’t had a tree for a long time because of the stupid cats. Sometimes I think they enjoy ruining things like that. I am a fan of Christmas trees, too.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas Eve with people you love and want to spend time with, too.

See you tomorrow.

Christmas of 1986. My mom got me this and I think she really enjoyed going to Zia and buying it for me.

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