There’s a kid in all of us |

There’s a kid in all of us

April Clark
Staff Photo |

I’ve always loved Christmas, mostly for the traditions from childhood.

As a kid, I always believed Santa would make his comeback in the middle of the night, no matter the weather or the economy. He was my Mr. Sandman, delivering dreams and guaranteed smiles and laughter. Not many people can ensure that will happen on one particular day out of the year. Except maybe the people who like to play April Fool’s jokes every year.

There’s always that one person who gets me every time.

The holiday tradition of believing in Santa has stayed with me all these years. I still like the idea that one person can bring so much magic into a household merely by sliding down the chimney in the middle of the night and leaving behind a bunch of presents under the tree. He is a busy man, but what I most appreciate about him is that he doesn’t forget to eat while he’s so hard at work. I’m still convinced he prefers eggnog over plain white milk.

And chocolate chip over raisin oatmeal.

I still hang onto the Santa tradition like an old mixed tape from middle school because I enjoy an element of surprise, which Santa most certainly brings. He’s always known what I wanted for Christmas, even when I’m pretty sure they didn’t have IOU sweatshirts in the North Pole.

Carhartt overalls, maybe.

Somehow Santa has always come through for me. Even when I secretly know I was more naughty than nice. He knows I broke my mom’s antique soup ladle when I was a kid even though I don’t think I ever admitted it to her. He knows how many of my dad’s cars I backed into in high school. And I’m thinking he’s really on to me about what I was up to on Spring Break in college. Yet he still doesn’t let me down.

I hope he really wasn’t watching that close in 1993.

I do commend him on not having commitment issues and always being there. He obviously had a well-adjusted childhood. The guy just doesn’t miss a beat. Or an all-nighter filled with driving a sleigh all over the world, lifting heavy packages over his shoulder and binging on cookies and milk.

I wonder if he starts physical therapy on the 26th.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve deemed Dec. 25 the best day of the year. That’s not just because Santa makes his much-anticipated triumphant return. Christmas is dear to my heart because my parents and my grandparents always made it that way. My grandpa loved conspiring with Santa to make sure my mom and her sister had wonderful memories of opening presents on Christmas morning and spending the rest of day with family. He found joy in watching others open presents. He loved to stop and pose for photographs, and take a lot of them himself. I think growing up in the Depression helped him appreciate all the little details that make for a merry Christmas.

I’m sure that’s where I get it.

One of the traditions my grandpa kept going from year to year was watching “A Christmas Story.” He even had a small replica of the fragile lamp the dad in the movie received as a prestigious award. My grandpa always liked to turn on the little dancing Santa by his Christmas tree so it would shake its hips to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” He also liked to play Bing Crosby records and make sure all the little kids had a doll or car to open under the Christmas tree.

Still to this day, I have my go-to staples for Christmas traditions. I like to watch the claymation “Rudolph” and drink eggnog.

As an adult, I especially like the added rum as part of that tradition.

I love Dec. 25, and not just for the story behind it — I once played the wiseman who brought the baby Jesus frankincense and myrrh. I do love the presents, giving and receiving, and the twinkling holiday lights decorations. I am a self-described lover of all things sparkly.

I think it was glitter, not embryonic fluid, that surrounded me in the womb.

I really love the lifetime of memories that have been made on Dec. 25, thanks to my grandparents, parents, and, of course Santa. Whether it was all those magical mornings of waking up with presents under the tree or that year my dad took our family to Disney World to celebrate Christmas with Mickey after my dad won a bowling tournament, the holidays will always be special to me. This year my grandpa won’t be here, and it feels as unfair as getting a parking ticket on Christmas. I know my mom will be missing her dad’s smile for the camera. But like Santa, I have a sneaking feeling he’s watching somewhere. See, there’s no other option than to be nice.

Just like him.

— April E. Clark wishes everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year. She can be reached at

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