Shotgun Christmas

We always pretended to be asleep. It was a game we played with our dad on Christmas Eve. He told us he couldn't signal for Santa until we were sound asleep in our beds.

As soon as he announced it was time to go to bed, we would run to our rooms, change into pajamas and jump into bed to wait for him to come into say goodnight.

We always pretended to be asleep. It was a game we played with our dad on Christmas Eve. He told us he couldn’t signal for Santa until we were sound asleep in our beds. As soon as he announced it was time to go to bed, we would run to our rooms, change into pajamas and jump into bed to...

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He'd lean down close to our faces to see if our eyes were closed. Sometime I could feel his scratchy beard brush against my cheek. He turned his face sideways so he could listen to our breathing, then pulled the covers up around our shoulders and tucked us in before he left the room.

As soon as he walked out we jumped up and ran to the nearest window. The screen door squeaked and we could hear his footsteps as he stepped out on the porch.

We knew what he had in his hands. It was his shotgun and the clicking sound told us he was loading the first cartridge in the chamber as we covered our ears with our hands to muffle the sound.

Bang, open, click, Bang, open, click, Bang! The sound of the shotgun echoed across the empty fields that surrounded our wood-framed farmhouse, as a signal for Santa. It meant that all of the Gaultney children were asleep in their beds and ready for him to deliver our toys.

My younger brother would sometimes worry about the safety of Santa. But we lay awake quietly in our beds listening until we drifted off to sleep, then the morning light would bring us to our feet.

It was apparent that Santa had indeed made it through the night as we dashed into the living room filled with the smell of oranges. We were greeted with a roaring fire in the fireplace and our mom and dad sitting in their chairs drinking coffee.

Our dad was as jolly as any old Saint Nick as he knelt beneath the Christmas tree to pass out the presents. It was the best time of the year for us.

When I was telling my daughter recently about my dad shooting the shotgun three times to signal Santa, she stopped what she was doing and said, "Mom, those are the stories I want to tell my children about their great-grandparents."

Our children love to listen to stories. They didn't have much time with their grandparents and when we tell stories about them, I can see them forming a picture of what they were like in their minds.

Our daughter creates a memory book online for her children every Christmas. They love looking back at what they did, the memories they've made and comments their mom includes.

If you don't want to make an online book you could buy a scrapbook or make your own by using a loose-leaf notebook, some acid-free paper that can be bought at a craft store, and plastic sheet protectors.

There is another kind of memory book called a smash book. Instead of buying a scrapbook album and page protectors, this is a journal in which you can write, draw, paint and glue in embellishments and memorabilia as you’re on-the-move. No planning is involved ? you simply decorate as you feel in the moment.

I love to tell stories to our children and grandchildren. I know they will create their own holiday traditions, and maybe even choose some that I've shared with them, but I doubt our shotgun Christmas will be one of them.

Author's Image
Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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