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I grew up with a great respect for each and every holiday due to the incredible enthusiasm my Mother bestowed upon them. Holidays were to be reveled in - any excuse to take an even bigger bite out of life. But Christmas was her favorite and she decorated to the hilt. "Santa" so transformed our home over Christmas Eve nite that I always made sure a hearty selection of Christmas cookies were there for refueling, and 'twas a good thing, as there was nary a crumb remaining, all of those delicious Christmas mornings.
Each year at the stroke of "December first", an interesting phenomenon occurred; with the passing of the days, one by one my dolls began to disappear. At first, I couldn't understand it and then my Mother assured me that Santa must have taken them for some reason and I shouldn't worry. As a child, the long-awaited morning was a dream of epic proportions. I would enter the living room and there beneath the tree was a sight so fantastic that nothing could compare. There nestled amidst the presents were my dolls, all in brand new outfits and matching shoes, each with hair styled anew with brightly colored satin ribbons. After the first year, I came to expect the mysterious disappearance and grew all the more excited because of it. For a child, the gifts in their marvelous packages and bows seemed uppermost, but as I learned who Santa really was, it became clear that the greatest gift I would ever receive was the presence of my Mother's love!
Now, as I prepare for this most wonderful of holidays, surrounding myself with decorations old and new, caroles play and watching the fire crackle, I am bathed in the warmth of my memories and wrap the love around me like a blanket of snow cocoons the earth as it prepares for another "New Year" of growth.
Merry Christmas and may its presence be with all of you the whole year through!