The story below is a guest post by Wil Elrick, aka Sweetums.
By Wil Elrick
I am sure by now it’s not a big secret that I was raised in a rather small family and that always led to a small Christmas growing up. When I hear people talk about the big family Christmases, I just can’t wrap my head around them. Just because our Christmas was small, doesn’t mean they weren’t memorable.
I guess I was somewhere between five and seven years old when I had the most memorable Christmas ever. My small family always did our celebration and gift-opening on Christmas Eve. The celebration would start in the mid-afternoon as my grandmother began making our Christmas feast. There was “roast beast,” potatoes, carrots, onions and – the game changer – Yorkshire pudding.
Our family was made up of just three of us but on Christmas eve we had friends who would join us in our celebration. There was Uncle Tuck (we all called him that but we weren’t related), Madame (her name, not a title), William, and his mom Granny Martin.
After dinner we all gathered in the living room for my favorite part, presents! We always did presents from people on Christmas Eve and anything Santa brought was found under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. This particular night, presents were opened and fun was being had when my grandfather says that we all need to stop for a minute. As far as I could remember, this never happened before. I mean, why would we stop opening presents?
He had everyone go outside but had me stay inside with him – strange things were definitely afoot. He finally ushered me outside. We lived on a farm and there was not much light outside other than the moon and stars, but there it was under the moonlight. Santa Clause was in his sleigh with eight reindeer attached to the front of it. They were all on the flatbed of an 18-wheeler in front of my house. I know that you are thinking this was a parade float or something similar to a parade display. No, it was a real-life Santa and real-life reindeer. My little self was utterly stunned.
Of course, Santa had to get onto his business of present delivery and he couldn’t stay at a house in Guntersville any longer so our little menagerie made our way inside with everyone in awe of what had just occurred. Everyone, that is, except for my grandfather who lingered outside when we all left. Did he personally know Santa? Did he set up this visit? These were all huge thoughts for my little mind as we finished our Christmas Eve activities and laid in bed that night.
This event was one of those things that you just never forget and each of the people that were present for Santa’s arrival talked about it and tried to figure it out for years to come. My grandfather, true to his nature, never let the secret out though, and the further I get from Santa’s visit to our small farm the more I am glad for that.