JoAn Martin

The older I get the more time I spend in memories, especially as Christmas gets nearer. We three little girls were invited to take a car ride the afternoon of Christmas Eve. When we returned home the Christmas tree in living room was filled with dolls, tricycles and bicycles and games. We were so surprised that Santa had come early. Even our parents had beautifully wrapped presents. I’m sure it was difficult to get us to bed that night. 

Fast forward to Christmas a generation later. We are driving to grandparents’ house. Three little boys are playing in the back seat of our station wagon. The only one who stays awake is listening to the ball game on the radio. The news commentator interrupts the game to inform us that a UFO (unidentified flying object) has been spotted on radar. It seems to be a sleigh led by reindeer. An excited wide-awake boy is thrilled that his assertion at school is positive proof that Santa is real.

A favorite memory is just a few years back. We three sisters are now grandmothers and we are visiting our elderly parents without all the children. We brought the tired box of worn decorations down from the attic and set up the tree for them, trying to recapture the Christmas spirit.

We talk together about how much fun Christmas used to be when each of us brought four children to our parents’ house. The twelve cousins loved getting together this once-a-year time. 

Mother acted as if she loved having all of us at the same time, but now I know she heaved a sigh of relief when we all went home. We voice a familiar complaint: “I want Christmas to be like it used to be.” But now the cousins are all grown up with families of their own.

Daddy asks us if we “girls” will do his Christmas shopping for him. “Of course,” we say, wondering what he plans for us to buy for our mother.

Imagine our amazement when he sends us to the small department store in town with a list of names and ages of children “across the tracks” in the poor section of town. We are assigned to buy, wrap, and deliver presents to children who won’t get any Christmas this year. We had discovered a sure cure for a blue Christmas.


JoAn Martin is a retired teacher with five published novels. Reach her at or at

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