Chopping carrots at 1.m. on Christmas Day seems a logical place to find solace. It’s a tradition I seem to have forgotten – until very recently.
Like many children, my sister and I left cookies and a glass of lukewarm milk out for Santa as we headed to bed on Christmas Eve. And as extra insurance, there was a push to include carrots for his reindeer.
I now realize, of course, that all of those magical years, my parents must have dutifully ground up (or eaten?) those carrots and cookies, leaving obvious crumbs behind, along with a note. The barely concealed handwriting, which I can still see, was either my mother’s careful script of half cursive or my father’s no-nonsense all capitalization.
I’m alone for Christmas this year, part of the unfortunate circumstances of a newspaper job and illnesses that have kept my small family apart. Slicing carrots for a stew, made for one, was all it took to bring back happy memories.
I hope there are children out there this morning who will get that same note from Santa. Forgotten amid the excitement of presents, it might still be there – years later – when they need it most.