For all us children this was an exciting time of year. No school!! Playing in the snow, sledding down the hills, cross country skiing, making snowmen, and playing fox and geese. If there was enough snow we would make an igloo. And of course, wait for Christmas. All year long, Daddy would be on the lookout for just the right tree.
Then the week before Christmas, he would saddle up his horse, and take a pack horse and his axe, and late that evening would return with the perfect tree. Christmas eve we would set it up and decorate it every ornament hung just so, Mom would put the tinsel put on strand by strand. We would hang our stockings, Mom would read the Christmas story from Luke, and then off to bed. After we were safe asleep, Mom and Daddy would bring out those gifts she had worked on for so long. There would be shirts for the boys, and dresses for the girls, and maybe handmade doll furniture for one girl, a cloth doll with a complete wardrobe for another. A wooden puzzle for one boy, and stuffed animal for another, and if it was a good year, one store bought toy for each of us. Although we were sure we wouldn't be able to sleep, before we knew it, it was morning. The fragrance of coffee mingled with the pine scent from the tree. Then like little jumping beans we all popped up, and ran to the living room to check to see if Santa had found his way to our mountain home.
And sure enough there were brightly wrapped gifts, under the tree, and bulges in our stocking. We were allowed to empty our stockings, which usually had an orange, a real treat for us, and maybe a small toy. Some years we could open one present before breakfast. The boys always chose the largest package, I the smallest. Then we rushed through breakfast and chores, and then everyone was excitedly tearing gift wrap, and ooohing, and aaaahhhing over all the wonderful surprises. The rest of the day was a time of pure joy. We were the luckiest kids in the world.